February 27, 2008

Staples test turbine approved

FRAMINGHAM – Staples Inc. expects to erect a wind tower that is almost twice the town’s 80-foot-height limit behind its headquarters on Crossing Boulevard in the next month after getting zoning board approval last night.

Mark Buckley, Staples’ vice president for environmental affairs, said the tower will test the wind power at that location for about six months before deciding whether to pursue another height variance for a wind turbine.

“It would have been great to get the variance for both, but if the wind data isn’t sufficient, we’re not going to have a project anyway,” said Buckley after the vote.

Staples secured a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative for its turbine proposal.

If Staples gets permission to build the turbine, it would reach a maximum height of almost 240 feet, or nearly three times the town’s height limit.

The imposing size was not enough to sway board members, who approved the request unanimously and with little debate.

“It’s a permitted use,” said board member Susan Craighead. “Whether we agree or not, nobody appealed on (whether it’s permitted).”

The wind mast will not have any logos or advertisements affixed to it and cannot be used as a cell phone tower. It must be taken down if it is not used for at least six months and Staples officials will turn over its findings to town officials as part of the approval.

Chairman Phil Ottaviani mentioned during one of the hearings on Staples’ plan that town officials were exploring putting a small turbine on the Memorial Building, but Buckley said there have been no formal discussions.

Town Manager Julian Suso also recently denied the existence of any such plans, and it has not been discussed by the Greener Framingham Committee, said Chairwoman Dawn Harkness.

A group of residents led by Town Meeting member Tom O’Neil submitted an article that will be on the Town Meeting warrant that would create a wind turbine bylaw. Staples would not be subject to the bylaw’s regulations.

O’Neil, the chairman of the Standing Committee on Planning and Zoning, asked Staples to withdraw its wind turbine plan three times during the public hearing on the proposal.

In other news, the zoning board extended the deadline for Great Brook Valley Health Center to act on its variance to November, saying the matter was in court for nearly a year and could not be acted on during that time.

The new deadline means Great Brook has almost nine months to get a building permit for its proposed downtown health center at 380 Waverley St. The Planning Board will continue its public hearing on the plan tomorrow after agreeing to reconsider the revised proposal.

By D. Craig MacCormack

The MetroWest Daily News

27 February 2008

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2008/02/27/staples-test-turbine-approved/