SAVOY – Hoping to “start the clock ticking” on a commercial wind-turbine farm, Harold Malloy filed a petition Tuesday to amend the town’s bylaws.
Malloy – who owns the 290 acres on West Hill where Minuteman Wind LLC hopes to put a five-turbine, 12.5 megawatt wind farm – acquired the 45 signatures necessary to file the citizen’s petition and put the question to a town vote.
“This petition is to amend our existing bylaws and will be using the template bylaw from the Massachusetts Department of Energy. It would allow by special permit the construction of commercial wind facilities,” Malloy said.
The Planning Board has been working on a bylaw to allow commercial wind projects for nearly three years but has kept pushing back the deadline for it to be brought to a town vote.
“Time is running out, and there’s a lot of people up here that are afraid that we’re going to lose the opportunity to benefit from such a project – not just the opportunity with Minuteman but we’re going to lose the opportunity, period, to get in a wind facility in town,” Malloy said. “The technology is growing really fast, and there are places all around that are approving these projects.”
Planning Board Chairman Jamie Reinhardt could not be reached for comment. He has previously said the board wants to ensure the town’s best interests are protected in every possible way. Malloy and his supporters, including a research fellow for the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, say the town’s bylaw is too restrictive.
Malloy said the town’s is geared to prohibit any development.
“If the intention is to kill all commercial wind power, then Jamie’s bylaw is the best one to have,” he said. “But if we’re going to guide this town into the future with the rest of the country and the rest of the world, then we need a workable bylaw.”
Selectmen’s Chairman John Tynan said he was unsure what the next step would be after the petition was filed but it would likely involve a special town meeting unless Malloy wanted to wait until the next annual town meeting.
“Well, it’s within his rights to file, if that’s what he feels needs to be done,” Tynan said. “That’s all I can really say until I speak with the town clerk.”
By Ryan Hutton
10 August 2007
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