The Zoning Board of Appeals, Wednesday night, granted Mulcor Wind Inc. a special permit to erect a 197-foot meteorological test tower on Mountain Hill Road in South Plymouth.
A 20-day appeal period follows this approval.
According to the permit, the test tower cannot exceed 199-feet and must be dismantled after 18 months.
The tower will measure the velocity and amount of wind on the site to help the developer determine if there’s enough wind to merit the installation of three wind turbines on the property.
Zoning Board of Appeals Administrative Assistant Peggy Fitzgibbons noted that the ZBA did not approve the wind turbines; she stressed that this special permit is for the temporary test tower only.
“Their eventual goal is to have three wind turbines,” Fitzgibbons added.
Patrick Mulligan, who owns the 70.7-acre property and is president of Mulcor Wind, referred all questions to company Vice President Wayne DelPicco, who could not be reached by press time.
The town’s bylaws require that wind turbines used to sell energy be sited on parcels of 5-acres or more. Mulligan wants to sell energy to the New England power grid.
By contrast, permits for wind energy conversion systems, or wind turbines that generate power for the property owner only, require the site be 2-acres or more.
Mulcor’s proposal triggered negative reaction from abutters and residents in the area when the Planning Board considered whether to recommend the test tower last month. Abutters and other Mountain Hill Road residents expressed concern their property values could plummet if a test tower or wind turbines find a home on Mulligan’s property.
But a majority of Planning Board members, at that time, said the test tower would give the town needed data on the viability of wind turbines in Plymouth. Four out of five members voted in favor of recommending the test tower to the zoning board. Planning Board member Loring Tripp was the lone vote against the plan. He said wind turbines in the Mountain Hill Road area could impact property values, but that siting turbines on the County Farm, on Obery Street, wouldn’t have this impact.
Plymouth officials are exploring the possibility of using wind turbines to offset utility costs in town, the way communities like Hull have done.
So far, only one Plymouth resident has applied for and received a special permit for wind turbines. Fitzgibbons was quick to point out, however, that this permit was for private use only and does not entail selling the power to another entity.
By Emily Wilcox
7 December 2007
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