Town meeting has approved a wind-power bylaw that will allow turbines of up to 350 feet in height on plots of land 5 acres or more.
A special permit from the zoning board will be required, however.
Some town meeting members thought the height allowance was too great.
But the town’s planning director, Lee Hartmann, said Plymouth already had bylaws governing smaller windmills for residential use. The new bylaw approved last night is intended to regulate wind turbines for commercial use.
Voters last night also approved every other request on the town meeting warrant, including property tax breaks for 11 companies.
Town meeting member Laurien Enos opposed the tax breaks.
“˜”˜The goal of getting more businesses is to get more taxes,” Enos said. “˜”˜This is giving away taxes.”
Member Brian DuBois said Plymouth should not be granting property tax breaks to companies without getting something in return.
But economic development director Denis Hanks said Plymouth needs incentives to lure business.
“˜”˜We’re in competition for these businesses,” Hanks said. “˜”˜Other communities have offered free land to the baseball team. A tax break will help to keep the $35 million investment in Plymouth.”
Hanks was referring to Bay Colony Baseball and Athletics LLC that wants to build a stadium near Sam’s Club off Route 3 for an independent baseball team.
Town meeting approved the tax breaks for all 11 companies in one vote. In addition to Bay Colony Athletics, they are STS Properties, Sager Precision/Autocam Corp., Alternate Energy Corp., Pilgrim Hill Plaza LLC, Pre Press Co., Cardelli Italian Deli and Groceria, Pine Hills Racquet and Fitness, Senior Health Services, Companion Animal Trust and Court Street Animal Hospital, and Play Sports Dome.
Voters spent the most time debating a regulation that would allow a planning board member to miss one hearing on a project review and still vote on the project’s permit.
Planning director Hartmann proposed the regulation for selectmen, zoning board, conservation commission and other town boards, but finance committee members amended the request to cover just the planning board.
Several town meeting members wanted the original language reinstated.
Town meeting member Richard Serkey said the rule was intended to help neighbors or other community groups opposing a controversial development.
Neighbors often show up at hearings only to have them continued to another date if a board member is absent, Serkey said.
The developer usually knows about the continuance ahead of time, but not the neighbors, Serkey said.
Several other town meeting members agreed with Serkey, but his motion failed and voters narrowly approved the new rule for the planning board only.
A few voters questioned spending $185,000 on a water system at Forges Field when the town has 13 other fields that also need improvements.
But town meeting member Kevin O’Reilly said Little League and the family of Jennifer Kane, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, intended to donate money for further improvements at the site if water were available.
By Tamara Race
The Patriot Ledger
Tamara Race can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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