Planning board limits setback requirement to residential districts
The Cohasset Planning Board has modified a proposed regulation for wind turbines to make it less restrictive.
The change could affect one developer’s plans to erect commercial-grade wind turbines on a ridge behind Graham Waste Services Inc. at 215 Chief Justice Cushing Highway.
The site reportedly is controlled by Paul S. Barry Jr., operator of Graham Waste Services, through a realty trust.
The change concerns a turbine’s so-called drop zone or fall zone.
As drafted, the regulation would require that the distance from the base of a turbine tower to the site’s property lines at least equal the structure’s height.
The idea for the safety-zone setback is that in the unlikely case of a turbine tower toppling, it would not fall onto someone else’s property.
But Andrew Willard, chairman of the alternative energy committee, said one of two proposed turbine sites on the Barry-controlled land could not meet that requirement. If that tower fell, it could extend onto the neighboring Hingham Lumber property, he said.
The developer wants to avoid putting turbines on the closed former Cohasset Heights landfill, Willard said.
Willard’s committee has prepared the regulation to try to streamline the town’s wind turbine approval process for commercial-size turbine projects – those greater than 500 kilowatts. The planning board, which would be the permitting authority, is sponsoring the regulation that is slated for action at the annual town meeting March 29.
Alternative energy committee member Dr. Michael Bliss said a turbine developer could ask the zoning board of appeals for a variance from the setback requirement.
But three planning board members decided to make it easier by amending the proposed regulation to limit the fall-zone setback requirement to residential districts.
Willard said his committee will meet with selectmen on the proposed regulation next Monday.
4 March 2008
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