Dedham – The town’s plan to install a wind turbine at Fairbanks Park was put on hold last night when the Zoning Board of Appeals refused to grant a permit for the project’s 90-foot height.
In front of around 30 neighbors and residents, the board pressed Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Donald Reisner for more detail about what the windmill would look like and how much noise it would make.
ZBA Chairman John Kearney said the application did not go far enough toward allaying fears of Fairbanks Park neighbors the turbine would make too much noise and be an eyesore.
“I agree that we do not have enough information,” Kearney said. “Based on what I heard tonight, I would vote against it.”
Unable to satisfy the zoning board with the information he had available, Reisner withdrew the permit application.
Board member Robert Smith wanted to see illustrations of what the turbine would look like in relation to the neighborhood. He said the board’s option to delay a decision for a month, so Parks and Recreation could produce more information, would not be productive.
“It’s going to take more than a month,” Smith said.
The Parks and Recreation Department secured $57,500 from Town Meeting in April to build a wind turbine to help power lights at the athletic fields at Fairbanks Park and offset the electricity costs.
The plan would have placed a 90-foot-high turbine with 22-foot diameter blades near the Fairbanks Park batting cage. Because the structure’s height exceeds what is allowed under town zoning laws, the plan needs a special permit.
If the zoning board had voted to deny the permit, the town would not have been able to reapply for two years. By allowing the application to be withdrawn, the board gave Parks and Recreation the option of reapplying much sooner.
After the meeting, Reisner said he did not know when the turbine proposal would be resubmitted or if it would be altered.
Anne Frasca of Central Avenue said the town should have studied the plan more thoroughly before raising the proposal.
“We are trying to go from the concept phase to the construction phase without doing the research,” Frasca said. “We were not presented with a site design, a study from a sound engineer or a financial analysis.”
Residents living near the park on Central Avenue and McKinley Avenue applauded Frasca’s comments and the board’s decision.
“We loved it,” said Marie Donoghue of Central Avenue. “It’s the first thing that’s gone our way in years.”
By Pat Anderson/Daily News staff
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