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Town meeting OKs zoning for wind power  

SUTTON— By the time the Cleveland Indians went to bat against the Red Sox last night in the bottom of the third inning, town voters had completed a clean sweep of the fall town meeting warrant.

It was unclear whether the 40 or so voters who turned out at the Simonian Center for Early Learning auditorium were looking to get back home quickly to catch the rest of the game or simply didn’t have any nits to pick with the 12-article warrant, but the forum lasted less than half an hour.

Eleven of the 12 articles passed; Article 2 wasn’t defeated, but a motion by its petitioner, Robert Nunnemacher, to skip the article passed. The article asked voters to consider buying a new firetruck, at a cost town officials estimated to be about $850,000.

Without debate, voters passed a new zoning bylaw allowing small wind turbines by special permit in all zoning districts except for the village district. The bylaw defines a small wind turbine as having a rated capacity of no more than 20 kilowatts.

The turbines allowed in the bylaw are designed to provide on-site power, not for selling power to the grid. The turbine cannot be closer to a property line than the height of the tower. The tower can have a maximum height of 120 feet, and the noise created by the turbine cannot exceed 70 decibels at the nearest property line, according to the bylaw. It includes aesthetic requirements.

Voters also passed an article that asked the town to approve the Right to Farm bylaw, a restatement of local and state laws protecting farmers. The bylaw does not expand protections.

Voters passed a citizen’s petition article by Jacob Nunnemacher asking the town to adopt a state law requiring that automatic sprinkler systems be installed in new or significantly altered houses that have more than four apartments. He said that the law, if passed, would not go into effect until next year.

“It’s an added protection for residents, and an added protection for firefighters who respond,” Mr. Nunnemacher said.

The voice vote seemed close, but Town Moderator Carl Licopoli declared the article passed.

By Steven H. Foskett Jr.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

16 October 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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