SAVOY – Don McCauley, president of Minuteman Wind, said Monday that the company will wait for the Planning Board to establish town bylaws concerning the construction of wind turbines before moving forward with plans to erect five turbines on West Hill.
However, if any of the bylaws conflict with requirements for construction, McCauley said, Minuteman Wind would have options. He said requests could be submitted for amendments to the bylaws, and a “reasonable solution” could be worked out with the Planning Board.
The Planning Board met last week to record letters sent by residents voicing their concerns about the project. Board members said having the concerns recorded would help them shape the bylaws. The board will meet this Thursday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall to continue work on the bylaws.
After the bylaws have been set, Minuteman Wind will submit applications for the necessary special permits to begin construction, McCauley said. If all goes well, construction would begin in the early months of 2008, he said.
Once everything is completed, he said, he thinks people will be happy with the project.
“I think it’s a really good project,” he said. “It will help the area’s energy obligations. It will help improve the economy in the area, and I think it will be an overall enhancement to the area.”
He said he hopes the town will follow the “model wind facility bylaw” recently issued by the state Division of Energy Resources. Planning Board member Thomas Sadin said the board has received the model bylaw but members are unsure how much of it might be used.
“We only just got the model a few weeks ago,” Sadin said. “We need to go over it in detail and see what parts fit with what we want.”
Savoy is the only town in the county without wind-turbine bylaws, which has caused many residents to worry about the 12.5-megawatt facility. Concerns range from excessive noise to a disrupted view to environment impact of construction. The turbines would measure 420 feet from the base of their towers to the tip of the rotor blades. Federal law would require flashing lights at the top of the turbines.
By Ryan Hutton, North Adams Transcript
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