By Paul Gately/ email@example.com
Bourne Water District ratepayers have asked commissioners to explore the possibility of investing in a wind turbine to help defray annual operating expenses.
“They want us to consider the feasibility of generating power to pump water,” commissioner Brian Handy told the planning board last week. “This is definitely progressive thinking and where appropriate, I hope it’s encouraged.”
The planning board approved a wind turbine bylaw proposal that will be presented to the October special Town Meeting. A subcommittee comprised of board members and Town Planner Coreen V. Moore researched turbines in residential settings with the help of former planning consultant Philip H. Herr of Herr Associates.
Board member Don Duberger is still concerned about aesthetics when it comes to reviewing plans for wind turbines in back yards. Member Clem DelFavero remains worried about fall zones and safety.
Board chairman Chris Farrell said overall neighborhood concerns – as well as those of abutters – also must be weighed when neighborhood proposals emerge and they seemingly have no say in another person’s use of property.
Board member John Howarth said the overall effort is to regulate turbines, not ban them. He said the model for this work is the bylaw hurriedly drafted and approved a few years ago to regulate cell phone towers; after one was erected in a Cataumet neighborhood with little thought given to so-called fall zones and safety issues.
The latest bylaw proposal includes a section for commercial turbines with no height restriction on commercial projects, the size of which remains the discretion of the planning board.
Turbine proposed for Barlows Landing Road
Wendie Howland of Barlows Landing Road has submitted a residential wind turbine plan to the town. She proposes a structure 120 feet high and says it will be difficult to view it from the main road. Turbines, she says, are the wave of the energy future.
Howland says far too much concern, however, is paid noise and aesthetic issues in these matters. She said utility poles and wires along major roadways are seen every day to the extent that “nobody notices them” any longer.
“Aesthetics are selective,” she said. “And wind turbines are not noisy.”
Under the bylaw, any structure built in a wetland resource area would be subject to an order of conditions being granted by the conservation commission.
Farrell, commenting on water commissioner Handy’s point, said he envisions the day when wind turbines will be proposed atop water storage tanks to help defray electric expenses for those facilities.
Board members after the public hearing last week agreed the consensus of the meeting was that Bourne 20 years from now will be seen as the community that caught the wave of wind power and acted accordingly; or was a town that didn’t know what it was doing in 2006.
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