The selectmen voted yesterday to remove their commercial wind turbine bylaw from the May 5 town meeting warrant.
“There were too many holes (in the bylaw),” chairwoman Linda Burt said yesterday. Some members of the board were not happy with last-minute revisions to the commercial turbine bylaw made by Selectman Martin McDonald because they did not have time to discuss or vote on them.
McDonald said he was trying to incorporate suggestions he’d gleaned from the planning board’s public hearing on the bylaw Wednesday night and other critiques.
For selectmen, one major problem with their proposed bylaw was that it required so much land, 33 acres per 400-foot-tall turbine, that the town could never have built one on municipal property. Ironically, the board had been critical of a rival petitioned commercial bylaw proposal that would have mandated 132 acres for the same-sized turbine.
In addition to the proposed commercial wind turbine bylaw, the selectmen also pulled a proposal that would have governed small 25-kilowatt to 60-kilowatt turbines suitable for private property owners. Burt said that proposed bylaw had problems as well.
That leaves the petitioned article as the only wind turbine proposal on the town meeting warrant. The petitioned article covers commercial turbines.
The petitioned article was crafted over the past year by a town panel known as the Ad Hoc Committee. Appointed by the selectmen, the panel was drawn from members of the planning board, abutters to the town-owned land where town officials had originally considered installing as many as four large wind turbines, members of the town energy committee, and a “neutral” citizen. After some selectmen re-wrote portions of the bylaw the panel drafted, some panel members decided to submit their original proposal as a petitioned article and let town meeting decide between their version and the selectmen’s version.
Pam Carlo, one of the abutters who objected to both the size and number of the town project, said the whole process may just be showing what many already believe: Eastham is too small and crowded for industrial-sized turbines.
“If the Queen Mary doesn’t fit, then you don’t berth it here,” she said.
Two years ago, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, working with the town’s energy committee, suggested four large turbines would be needed to attract a private contractor to finance, build and run them. Abutters and other residents waged a spirited campaign to stop the project. The selectmen said yesterday they decided to notify the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative that they no longer want to consider building four large turbines in North Eastham.
By Doug Fraser
28 March 2008
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