Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Massachusetts
A $7.3 million project to install two wind turbines in the Orleans watershed is moving closer to construction. This week the Massachusetts Senate referred to committee the bill needed to permit the private project on four acres of land in the public watershed off Route 28 in Orleans. The bill's final passage isn't likely until after Labor Day. On Monday night, Orleans water commissioners and selectmen meet to work on a request for proposals for a private developer to build and operate the 397-foot tall turbines, water commissioner Kevin Galligan said yesterday. If all goes well, the request for proposals from bidders may go out in August, and turbines may be operating by next spring or early summer, he said. Voters originally approved the turbines last year.
Members of the new Wind Turbine Ad Hoc Committee got into the meat of the issues Monday surrounding the town's controversial proposal to erect wind towers off Nauset Road, a plan that has divided townspeople. The proposal would have sited up to four commercial wind towers, each 460 feet tall, on 12 acres of town-owned land. That proposal is off the table, and with it went two proposed zoning bylaws to regulate these wind turbines. The two bylaws, one proposed by the town and its energy committee, the other by abutters opposed to the proposal as it stood, were withdrawn from consideration by town meeting in May so that a new zoning bylaw, more palatable to both sides, could be submitted to selectmen. The committee, led by Tom Reilly, is charged with taking a look at the two original bylaws that were withdrawn and come up with a compromise bylaw to present to selectmen by Oct. 31. Monday's meeting was the committee's fourth and it plans to complete the job in nine meetings.
SCITUATE - The town has received a $65,000 grant to study whether wind energy can power its wastewater treatment plant. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative grant comes after more good news for wind-power advocates: 12 months worth of anemometer readings at the plant show that there is enough wind to make it a suitable site for a turbine. Selectman Paul Reidy estimated that the town could save thousands of dollars by using wind power. The treatment plant used $146,000 worth of electricity last year. A draft of the feasibility study is expected to be ready by September. Officials are considering a public meeting at that point to discuss the town's options.
Two citizen groups filed an appeal Friday morning in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston seeking to overturn the state Department of Environmental Protection's decision last month to allow the Hoosac Wind Project in Florida and Monroe to move forward. The 20-page complaint charges that the DEP's June 20 decision to issue a wetlands permit for the 20-turbine wind farm - which overruled a decision of an administrative magistrate with the state Division of Administrative Law Appeals in May - was "procedurally irregular," against state law and not supported by substantial evidence.
A Northampton lawyer, hired by a local citizens group, says a proposed wind turbine farm and an existing meteorological tower on West Hill are not allowed under the town's current zoning bylaws. The group, Savoy Neighbors, commissioned Jonathan Z. Souweine of Lesser, Newman, Souweine & Nasser LLP to do an analysis of Savoy's zoning bylaws in light of the proposed five 420 foot-turbine, 12.5 megawatt wind power facility to be located on 290 acres of West Hill. He determined the current bylaws prohibit any structure over 35 feet from being built in town.
An abutter's lawsuit has derailed a local businessman's plan to construct a 123-foot-high, commercial wind turbine on his Depot Road property. It is the first industrial turbine development to be approved in Harwich.......... According to the lawsuit, Davenport claims that the planning board, as the special permit-granting authority, exceeded its authority in approving the project and failed to meet several conditions required under town bylaws.
Salem wants to help lead the way when it comes to tapping the power of the wind. The city is working with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a quasi-public agency that invests in renewable energy projects and companies across the state, to pursue the goal of locating one or more electricity-generating wind turbines on municipal sites in Salem. As a first step, the collaborative recently agreed to provide Salem with a preliminary analysis of eight potential sites for wind turbines identified by the city's Renewable Energy Task Force.
Mihos has plans to install wind turbines at nine of his 15 Cape locations, including the Christy's overlooking Hyannis Inner Harbor and at the corner of Route 28 and Falmouth Road at the Hyannis/Yarmouth border........"They're not large at all and work aesthetically," he said of the turbines.
When it comes to getting major municipal projects approved at town meeting, Eastham looks a lot more like struggling Julio Lugo than Red Sox batting leader Kevin Youkilis. Three major municipal projects - a four-turbine wind farm, a 250-space parking lot and oceanside beach, and a $75 million municipal water system - are all in holding patterns through a combination of negative town meeting votes, pending litigation, and/or determined opposition. Major projects often require a two-thirds vote at town meeting, and that can be the choke point for a project, particularly in the face of a determined opposition.
But already some people are complaining about turbine's visual impact on the region's scenic landscape (Transcript story, Page 1 on Saturday). The 265-foot-high turbine can be seen clearly from many spots in Hancock, from Pontoosuc Lake in Lanesborough and Pittsfield and, we suspect, from a lot of other spots in surrounding communities. This is only one windmill. Imagine the complaints to come when turbines begin to sprout up in the 10s and 20s and hundreds, in Hancock, Florida, Monroe, Savoy and off the waters of Cape Cod - if these projects come to fruition. The wind turbines would be far taller than Jiminy's - from 350 feet to well over 400. Most would be built by out-of-state developers with substantial help from government subsidies (read taxpayers' subsidies) and would require significant tree cutting and road building, not only to get the turbines where they must be but also to connect them to the grid. The residents of Berkshire County should seriously consider if the end result would be worth it.
Efforts to harness the wind in the industrial zone in North Harwich have been stalled by a lawsuit filed this week by Davenport Realty Trust against the planning board and property A month ago the planning board approved a use special permit for the first wind turbine to be located in industrial zone in town. The approval was conditioned upon approval of a bylaw by the state Attorney General's Office. Town meeting approved the use of wind turbines for industrial zones in May.
FAIRHAVEN - Opponents of bringing wind turbines to property off of Arsene Street in Fairhaven shouldn't get too excited over the news that the Massachusetts Technological Collaborative has chosen Orleans as the recipients of two turbines that they currently have in storage. The MTC announced last week that Fairhaven no longer was at the head of the list to receive the turbines, as Orleans' once derailed project was back on track. Since Orleans was where those turbines initially were headed, they leaped past Fairhaven despite the fact that work in town was slated to begin in early fall and their project was at least a year away from beginning.
FITCHBURG- A public meeting about wind turbine technology packed the Veterans Memorial Room in City Hall yesterday with residents. Several attendees peppered the conversation with independent research opposing the machines.
NEW BEDFORD - The Boston developer who wants to build a 300-megawatt wind farm in Buzzards Bay called the results of preliminary bird studies "encouraging" but said it is too early to determine whether threats to endangered terns that nest and feed in the bay could kill the $750 million project. "I am fifty-percent comfortable," said Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables, LLC., a renewable energy subsidiary of his construction company, Jay Cashman Inc.
FAIRHAVEN - The town might not get the two wind turbines available through a state agency, and developer CCI Energy might be forced to pay an additional premium for two other units. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is giving preference to the town of Orleans for the turbines it holds in storage. That town is pursuing its own wind project through a private developer.
Donald McCauley, Minuteman Wind LLC president, and local landowner Harold Malloy told the Selectmen Tuesday that unless the Planning Board has its wind-power bylaw ready by next week, they would submit one of their own for the town to vote on. A member of the Planning Board made no apologies for the delay in drafting its bylaw, and the Selectmen, although they would like to see a final version, agreed that the bylaw should be the Planning Board's responsibility. The board has been working on its bylaw for over a year in anticipation of the five-turbine, 12.5-megawatt facility to be located on 290 acres of West Hill owned by Malloy.
Selectmen across the Island this spring hailed a proposal to designate an area southeast of Chappaquiddick as a renewable energy zone, where they would promote offshore projects to supply the Vineyard and Nantucket with clean electric power. Given the lure of federal funding, the concept was openly embraced by town officials and other groups who are opposed to the offshore wind farm proposed in Nantucket Sound. They presented the publicly sited area as a better alternative to the Cape Wind project, which a private developer has proposed on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. But more than two months after extolling the idea, town officials acknowledged this week that they know virtually nothing about the details of the proposed zone.
The principals involved, Paul Reeves, the developer who first approached the tribe about the potential for wind energy, and Durwood "Woody" Vanderhoop, tribal planner, had little to say about a relationship that has apparently soured.
OTIS AIR BASE - Plans to build a wind turbine at the base are on hold until officials figure out whether a turbine would interfere with the Air Force's PAVE PAWS radar station in Sagamore.
Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas recently ordered a study of the potential for using a wind turbine to cut $1 million a year in utility costs for the city's water and wastewater treatment plant operations. In North Attleboro, the town-owned electric utility is not ruling out any options in its search for more cost-effective energy sources - including the possibility of constructing a peak-use power plant. Meanwhile, municipal officials are under pressure to conserve energy in any way they can, egged on by state policy makers dangling carrots in the form of grants and reimbursements.