HANCOCK – Building inspector William Palmer Jr. said Friday he will accommodate the developmental delays of the Berkshire Wind Project, but only to a point.
Palmer said he has issued several permits and extensions to Distributed Generation Systems Inc. since 2000 for 10 planned wind turbines on Brodie Mountain. In that time, contractors have dug five turbine foundations, he said.
The latest six-month extension technically expires on June 15, and the project has been halted by a legal suit from the nearby Snowy Owl resort, whose owner, Silverleaf Resorts Inc. claims that construction cut trees from a portion of its land and that some of the turbines would mar the “viewscape” of a planned time share development.
Palmer said he wants to give Dale Osborne, DisGen president, a fair chance with the project, which has been planned since 1998.
“The way I’m interpreting it is that he will have the six months, starting from whenever the lawsuit is settled,” Palmer said. “That seems like the fair thing to do. But, after that, they’ve got to have a good reason not to be working. If he (Osborne) hasn’t done anything for another six months, it’s not going to work with me. Of course, he has a right to appeal any decision I make.”
Laughing, Palmer expressed exasperation with the project.
“It’s been a long, drawn-out affair, and I wish it was either completed or just disregarded. I’ve had to deal with it the whole eight years I’ve been inspector,” he said.
A new zoning bylaw going before a vote at the annual town meeting in May would outlaw commercial wind towers taller than 150 feet. The wind project’s turbines are planned to measure 388 feet tall. The project, as it stands, would not be affected by the new bylaw, but down the line, that could change.
“If the permits expire and the law passes,” Palmer said, “then I think it would be done.”
By Bonnie Obremski, North Adams Transcript
24 March 2007
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