Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Massachusetts
An apartment owner’s application to construct a 44-foot wind turbine to provide power for his six units at 1282 Commercial St. has been unanimously rejected by the board of zoning appeals. “I don’t believe it is an appropriate use for the location,” Chairman Richard McLeod said before he joined his colleagues on Sept. 1 in rejecting a variance request from property owner Joseph Fantasia. “There is a school property line there.”
A Superior Court ruling against abutters who sought to keep the town from erecting a wind-measuring device on town-owned property at the Water and Sewer Department makes it more likely the town will get an electric power-generating windmill in the future. The town wants to erect the 130-foot tower to take readings to determine wind velocity in the area.
Like prospectors who discovered gold in the old West, developers, business owners, and homeowners are rushing to stake their claims to free, renewable energy by putting up wind turbines. As more of the structures sprout, however, local, state, and federal authorities are struggling to close the gap between old regulations and relatively new technology.
As Island towns refine and strengthen their regulatory authority over local wind turbine projects, the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC), as the Island's comprehensive land use planning agency, is considering the extent of its role in the process. MVC executive director Mark London said this week that the commission is closely watching two key pieces of state legislation that will influence development of wind power on land and sea.
A new subdivision could be in the cards for the land where two wind turbines were recently proposed in Cohasset. Civil engineer and CCI-Energy President Jim Sweeney, the proponent of the Cohasset Heights wind turbine project, was before the planning board this week presenting plans for a new access road to the site.
An apartment owner's plan to build a 60-foot wind turbine to provide power for his six units at 1282 Commercial St. stirred frustrations among his neighbors during a board of zoning appeals public hearing on July 8. Joseph Fantasia agreed to reduce the height of the turbine to 53 feet after hearing comments from nearby homeowners about his design plans that include construction of a garage and a retaining wall.
Any recommendations from the City Council's Planning and Development committee on how to change the city's wind turbine ordinance will not come for a few weeks. The three-person board decided last night to wait to go through the document until they gather more information and divide up the work.
nder the newly released ocean management plan for the state's coastal waters, Greater Newburyport's coastline could one day be home to 10 wind turbines. Massachusetts officials yesterday released a draft of the plan that spells out rules for setting up wind farms in state waters.
A state plan to manage future renewable energy projects in coastal waters would put the kibosh on proposed large wind farms in Buzzards Bay but open up the possibility of as many as 10 turbines in the waters around Cape Cod and almost 170 turbines southwest of Martha's Vineyard. "We're the first state in the nation to conduct such a comprehensive ocean management plan," Ian Bowles, state secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said.
On the first sunny evening all week a crowd of 247 voters turned out to Special Town Meeting Thursday to vote on a citizen petition proposed “moratorium” on the wind energy bylaw and an article amending the previously approved article on the high school’s turf field. Shortly after Town Meeting was called to order Town Moderator Daniel Evans told the crowd they would not be able to act upon the wind energy bylaw as it was set forth in the warrant.
The committee began looking over the ordinance in April. The City Council had agreed to re-examine the ordinance and possibly make changes after neighbors in the Back Bay neighborhood voiced their opposition to the 292-foot turbine put up by business owner Mark Richey on his woodworking facility site in the industrial park.
Citizens expecting to head to the high school gymnasium tonight (Thursday) to cast their vote on a proposed amendment to the wind energy bylaw will not be given the chance. On the eve of the scheduled Special Town Meeting Wednesday a majority of the Planning Board determined they needed more information, discussion and clarity on the citizen petition article concerning the wind energy bylaw.
NEWBURYPORT - As residents and city officials consider whether or not the city's wind turbine ordinance needs some changes to protect the interests of residents who live in nearby neighborhoods, Beacon Hill lawmakers have been quietly moving forward with proposed legislation to increase the state's control over permitting wind turbines throughout the commonwealth.
The Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) has pushed for wind-power siting criteria to ensure that all projects meet high standards for environmental review, production efficiency, and long-term economic sustainability. The proposed Act calls for the creation of standards, but only requires that they be met to the "maximum practicable extent." To grant ad-hoc exemption from standards compromises the objective of siting facilities in appropriate locations.
On the heels of a highly controversial wind turbine project application-the first under the wind energy conversion facility bylaw-a group of residents feel the bylaw needs revision. In order to revise the bylaw properly, the proponents are proposing a "moratorium" be placed on the bylaw and all its provisions to prevent new applications from being grandfathered in under the current bylaw.
Now that the Cape Cod Commission is appealing the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board's approval of the proposed wind farm on Nantucket Sound to the state's highest court, it's important to consider the stakes involved. This is not about the merits or demerits of the project. The appeal is about the ability of a state board, made up of nine gubernatorial appointees, to overrule a regional authority simply because the project developer submitted an application to the Cape Cod Commission.
Following on the heels of the Cape Cod Commission, which began an appeal process last week, the town of Barnstable has filed paperwork with the Supreme Judicial Court to challenge the Cape Wind proceedings. In a release issued Monday, the Cape Cod Commission confirmed its plans to appeal the comprehensive permit granted to Cape Wind Associates last month.
Boxford officials are investigating whether it makes sense for the town to install a wind turbine that could provide power for all of the town's operations. However, officials must first go through a number of steps to see if the town is eligible for state grant money and if Boxford, with fewer power needs than surrounding communities, would receive a net benefit.
As the state moves forward with proposed legislation for siting wind turbines, planning board officials in some hilltowns want a public hearing in western Massachusetts, where the mountains, open space and vast areas of state-owned land could be prime locations for commercial windmills. Last month, the Rowe, Heath and Hawley planning boards all sent letters to legislative co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications expressing concerns that the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act would 'significantly restrict Massachusetts communities' home rule authority.
The call for the Special Town Meeting was prompted by what many in town view as an opportunity to improve the existing wind turbine bylaw based on the lessons learned from the review of the Cohasset Heights Wind Turbine project. Everyone can agree that we know a lot more about wind power today than when the bylaw was originally crafted.