Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Massachusetts
HARWICH - The day after town meeting approved a zoning amendment allowing placement of wind energy systems in commercial and industrial zones, the planning department received its first application. While the bylaw has yet to receive the official sanction of the state Attorney General's Office, applicant Gerald Bojanowski of Depot Development, LLC, owner of property in the industrial zone in North Harwich at 500 Depot St., wants to get the process underway.
There appears to be a lack of state rules and regulations for setbacks to residential homes, setbacks to wetlands, impacts on wildlife, health and welfare, safety risks and abutter notification of other surrounding towns....... We need a set of conforming state laws and regulations for all the cities and towns of Massachusetts.
ATTLEBORO - It may turn out to be pie in the sky, but Mayor Kevin Dumas is looking at wind power to help cut one of the city's biggest electric bills. With the departments of water and wastewater spending $1 million a year for electricity to run the 24-hour, 365-day operations, he's eager to consider the use of wind turbines to help reduce the hefty costs.
You don't have to propose a 130-turbine wind farm in the middle of Nantucket Sound to cause a controversy. In Fairhaven, two proposed turbines behind the town's wastewater treatment plant have earned the wrath of a vocal group of residents who say the whirring blades will be too noisy and cast flickering shadows on homes during sunsets.
Cape Wind developer Jim Gordon's plan for an oil-fueled power plant in Chelsea "appears unlikely" to be able to get state approval, Massachusetts' top environmental regulator said late yesterday. The statement came just days after another electricity-generation plan for Massachusetts, the 20-tower Hoosac Wind project on the Florida-Monroe border in the Berkshire hills, was dealt a potentially fatal setback by a state board that ruled its access road would violate wetlands laws. While Hoosac Wind has attracted both support and opposition on environmental grounds, the Chelsea Peak Energy proposal has faced intense opposition from community and "green" groups.
You can huff and puff, Cape Wind Associates seems to be telling the Cape Cod Commission, but you have no legal standing to blow down our house.
As the MMS is developing a foundation for good ocean-use decisions, it must carefully evaluate the Cape Wind project, not only in the context of environmental standards, but also economic ones. Unfortunately, MMS has so far refused to share its economic viability model for the Cape Wind project. If it continues to withhold that information, its review will be less than credible.
It's not the idea of wind power that upsets members of a local preservation group. Rather, it's the idea of drafting a city ordinance that would allow wind turbines that the group says are too tall, and too obtrusive for Fitchburg. No such ordinance is on the table. But City Councilor at-large Jay Cruz, a former Planning Board member, has asked city officials to look into the prospect of wind power, and of writing an ordinance that would allow turbines - under special permit - in Fitchburg. "Our major concern is a large-scale commercial turbine installation," said Kris Specht, a member of the Dean Hill Preservation Association. "We're just really having trouble finding a place where this might fit in the city of Fitchburg. Unfortunately our highest windy spots are our most rural, peaceful locations."
Although special Town Meeting voters authorized the selectmen to negotiate a 25-year lease with CCI Energy that will allow the company to install two wind turbines on town land, the deal is far from concluded. "This isn't something simple," selectmen Chairman Ronald J. Manzone said. "There are things that have to be done." CCI is still negotiating the final terms of an agreement with the town that will allow the company to erect two 396-foot turbines on town land and sell energy to the town at wholesale prices.
Supporters and opponents of a proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm sparred yesterday over the extent of the Cape Cod Commission's jurisdiction over the project. In the coming months, the commission, the Cape's regional planning organization, will be reviewing Cape Wind's proposal to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound. But the scope of that review is up for debate. Yesterday, the agency held a public meeting at Barnstable Town Hall to gather testimony on its proper role.
Most in the neighborhood are uneasy about the turbines - and the issue took the forefront in town politics when attorney Ann Ponichetera DeNardis ran for the Board of Selectmen. Led by Mrs. DeNardis, neighbors signed a five-page petition asking Town Meeting to vote the proposal down last Tuesday. A raucous Town Meeting decided otherwise, supporting the renewable energy project seen by most as a benign way to help the town's economy and the environment. But negative feelings run high.
It is easy to commiserate with the towns of Florida and Monroe, which stand to lose thousands of dollars in revenue due to Wednesday's setback for the Hoosac Wind Project (Transcript, May 17). The decision by a state administrative magistrate that the 30-megawatt, 20-turbine project did not comply with wetlands laws may not be its death knell, but there certainly will be no building on Bakke Mountain and Crum Hill anytime soon. Good. Because it is far harder to commiserate with PPM Energy of Portland, Ore., which stands to gain millions in taxpayer-funded subsidies for building a wind farm that would generate just over a tenth of 1 percent of the electricity used in Massachusetts - and one that would replace not one iota of reliance on fossil fuels.
A state magistrate has dealt a major blow to the proposed $40 million, 20-turbine wind farm in Florida and Monroe. Natalie S. Monroe, an administrative magistrate for the state Division of Administrative Law Appeals, ruled Monday that the state Department of Environmental Protection was incorrect in issuing a wetlands permit to Hoosac Wind Power's then owner enXco. PPM Energy of Portland, Ore., purchased the rights to the project in February 2006.
A state arbitration panel has dealt a setback to the Hoosac Wind project by rejecting a state-issued wetlands permit that would be needed to access the site....... The Division of Administrative Law Appeals yesterday ruled that the developer's evaluation of the impact on wildlife habitat was insufficient and certain parts of the project didn't comply with the Wetlands Protection Act.
We have the making of the perfect storm in regards to the amount of harm that could be inflicted on our residents. A community should never compromise the quality of life of its citizens for a small amount of financial gain.
FAIRHAVEN - Town Meeting Tuesday night took a decisive step to allow the development of SouthCoast's first commercial wind-power project. After more than three hours of discussion, Town Meeting voted 141 to 98 to allow the Board of Selectmen to enter into a 25-year lease agreement with private developer CCI Energy. The company plans to erect two 396-foot commercial wind turbines on town-owned land adjacent to the its waste-water treatment facility on Little Bay.
The proposal to build industrial wind turbines on the site at Little Bay needs further study. A special Town Meeting scheduled for May 15 is being called to vote on the issue. Wind Wise has submitted a number of articles. One of these pertains to the noise study that is being done for the town by the University of Massachusetts. UMass does almost all of the noise studies for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and for wind developers.
The article's failure is a victory for proponents of wind turbines in the town's ongoing debate over the proposed Berkshire Wind project that would place turbines on Brodie Mountain. It was the only one of the 23 articles on the warrant that didn't pass. A total of 202 of the town's 509 registered voters (39.7 percent) attended the annual town meeting, which took place at Hancock Central School. Residents cast 67 votes in favor of the zoning amendment last night and 59 against, but the measure failed because it required a two-thirds majority for approval. The voting was done by secret ballot. The measure also failed to achieve a two-thirds majority last year when 72 votes were cast in favor and 69 were opposed.
FAIRHAVEN - The town Wednesday night presented studies that address concerns regarding shadow flicker and noise associated with the proposed Little Bay wind turbines project, but for opponents of the plan, that still wasn't enough. "We were not invited to speak at this meeting," said Ann Ponichtera DeNardis of WindWise Fairhaven, an opposition group. "I think we should have, in fairness, another opportunity." Mrs. DeNardis, who raised a $10 bill to show how much each resident would save with the project, said the town's consultants and project proponents spent two hours pushing their cases, but the people on the "con" side of the argument didn't have a chance to present their views.
Good intentions alone cannot assure the success of these projects. Before communities spend millions demonstrating their concern for the environment by erecting huge wind turbines or investing in other forms of energy production, they should be certain there will be a reasonable return on and proper management of those facilities.