A zoning bylaw for windmills will come before voters at a special Town Meeting Nov. 27, and resident Paul F. Bourbeau hopes it will receive the required two-thirds majority vote so he can start a windmill project on his 20-acre property.
Bourbeau helped craft the proposed windmill bylaw, which restricts the structures to a maximum height of 120 feet.
Windmills would be granted by the Planning Board by special permit, and would be allowed only in the rural residential zone, and for noncommercial use. The setback must be twice the height of the windmill, and windmills cannot produce a noise level over 10 decibels, Planning Board Chairman Craig Sweitzer said.
“I think it’s beneficial for green energy, period,” Bourbeau, of 258 Lower Hampden Road, told the board at last night’s public hearing. “And it has a benefit for the homeowner obviously.”
Resident Robert Dane spoke in favor of the bylaw. He said windmills are quiet, and dismissed talk about their effect on birds, saying cats kill millions of songbirds a year “and I don’t see anybody crying about that.”
“I look at both sides of the fence. I can’t really see any harm in a windmill,” Dane said.
“I think this is a step in the right direction. We need to look at things like this,” Planning Board member Kevin P. Haley said.
Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman William F. Donovan said he was not opposed to the bylaw, but had some concerns.
Donovan said that balloon tests are done for cell tower proposals. In those tests, a balloon is floated to show the height of the tower, he said. Something similar could be done for windmill proposals, he said.
After the meeting, Bourbeau, a truck mechanic, said he’s been considering a windmill for about eight years, ever since he drove through Canada and saw “a lot of windfarms up there.”
He said he expects the windmill to cost approximately $15,000 to construct, but expects to be reimbursed between 40 and 50 percent of the cost from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
Bourbeau also stands to receive credits from National Grid – he estimates up to $1,500 a year – as well as tax credits. He thinks he may end up breaking even on his electric bill with the windmill in place. He said he doesn’t expect the windmill to power his entire house.
By Lori Stabile
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