Wendie Howland’s plan to construct a 120-foot wind turbine on the highest point of Pocasset encountered rough going with the Bourne Appeals Board Wednesday night, and she withdrew her height-variance request without prejudice.
Howland’s neighbors and abutters rallied around her request and her plan to erect a 10-kilowatt structure of galvanized steel on her property off Barlows Landing Road.
Appeals board members Robert Gaynor and Judith Riordan said they are alternative energy enthusiasts but also said the Howland project was a much broader than a simple request for a variance of the bylaw restricting structures to 40 feet.
The planning board weighed in, saying any approval of the Howland turbine could be precedent-setting and would not be in Bourne’s best interest because Town Meeting in May still has to consider a wind-turbine control bylaw amendment.
Gaynor said bylaw review should come first. He said he does not want to see turbines all across town with a resulting “visual contamination.”
Riordan said the town is “trying to establish process and procedure” on wind turbines and the effort should be supported. She said Howland’s project and her variance request represents a balance between community rights and those of the property owner.
Town Planner Coreen Moore suggested conditions should the appeals board lean toward granting Howland’s height variance request. She said the conditions are needed, not so much to protect neighbors as to protect the interest of buyers moving in and not realizing the Howland structure might fall on their land one day.
Howland reminded appeals board members that her request was for a zoning variance on the height restriction; “nothing else,” she said. She said she stands to lose $47,500 in an alternative energy subsidy if the plan does not proceed by March. She said reducing her electric energy bills now would help her live reasonably well in her old age and enjoy her home.
The appeals board was not persuaded. So Howland withdrew her request.
By Paul Gately
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