The town of Hull has cut energy costs dramatically through its use of wind turbines.
Kingston officials are hoping to do the same.
Town Meeting will be asked to consider proposals that would expand the wind turbine overlay district and allow the town to enter into the wind turbine business.
If Town Meeting, which meets April 5, approves it, Town Planner Thomas Bott said a proposal to expand the current wind turbine overlay district off Cranberry Road would mean an additional 3,150 square feet to the current 38-acre district.
For the zoning change to pass, the proposal requires a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting.
Town Meeting in 2007 created this 38-acre wind turbine overlay district, allowing turbines to be sited on the property.
Another Town Meeting proposal to expand the overlay district to include a 33-acre site between the town’s 40R district abutting the Kingston train station and Indian Pond Estates will not be pursued, however.
Bott said the Green Energy Committee will likely hold off on this request since the 40R developer, Thorndike Development, has a purchase and sale agreement with the owner of the land to expand the sewer plant. Thorndike can’t build the 730 housing units on the parcel without first setting aside this field for the sewer plant to service the development. The company plans to buy the parcel and then give it to the town for this sewer expansion.
The Green Energy Committee intends at some future date to expand the wind turbine overlay district to include this 33-acre field. But Bott said the committee is holding off on that request while negotiations are ongoing between the developer and the owner.
In addition to adding a small piece of land to the town’s wind turbine overlay district, officials are hoping Town Meeting will also pass an act that would authorize the town to install, finance and operate wind turbines.
If passed, the act would also require state legislation approval.
“I think it’s just another step for the town of Kingston to move forward looking at smart growth and smart energy policies,” Bott said.
He noted that Kingston received an award from the governor last December for implementing smart growth design standards and for the town’s passage of the 40R zoning bylaw for affordable housing. This 40R legislation allows towns to decide where affordable housing should be sited and how it should be designed. Otherwise, affordable housing issues would be decided by 40B affordable housing developers who may seek to build in an area the town would rather see protected.
Bott said this turbine legislation would be taking another smart step toward smart energy. Towns like Hull that have entered into the turbine business have cut utility costs dramatically.
It’s time for Kingston to begin working on the smart energy side of the equation as well, he said.
By Emily Wilcox
20 March 2008
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