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Will ZBA windmill vote be appealed?  

DEDHAM – Parks Commissioners will decide Monday whether to fight in court a Zoning Board of Appeals ruling that has halted plans to build a windmill at Fairbanks Park.

Monday marks the end of the 20-day appeal period of the ZBA ruling, which denied a permit for the 90-foot turbine designed to power athletic field lights at the park, citing neighborhood opposition and insufficient planning.

Park and Recreation Commission Chairman Donald Reisner said yesterday that his board was still considering whether to go through with the court challenge or seek other options, including shrinking the windmill.

‘‘We are still weighing our options and will have an announcement Monday,’’ Reisner said. ‘‘There are several different ways we can go.’’

Parks commissioners would need the approval of the Board of Selectmen to launch a legal appeal on behalf of the town against another town board.

Town Meeting members in April approved $57,000 to purchase and install the wind turbine, expected to save around $1,900 annually in energy costs.

The town’s plan required a permit from the ZBA, because the proposed windmill would have exceeded the 85-foot maximum height of structures allowed by town bylaws.

At public hearings on the permit, residents from the neighborhood adjacent to Fairbanks Park expressed concern that the turbine would create noise and be visually unappealing.

The ZBA voted 3-2 in favor of the plan, but four affirmative votes are required for approval.

Reisner said after the decision that he intended to appeal the ruling on the grounds that materials presented to the ZBA by residents opposed to the windmill had not been made available to him and because the reasons for the denial had gone beyond the board’s purview.

In the written decision, filed with the town clerk Nov. 13, ZBA Chairman John Kearney listed neighborhood opposition, lack of a ‘‘comprehensive study’’ of the project and failure to consider alternative sites as reasons to deny the permit.

Kearney also said the windmill ‘‘may not make sense economically,’’ but conceded that neighborhood concerns about noise from the turbine may have been unfounded.

Reisner said if the commission decides not to appeal the ruling, it could pursue building an 84-foot windmill that wouldn’t require a permit, look for another location for a turbine, or abandon windpower.

By Patrick Anderson

The Daily News Transcript

29 November 2007

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