AYER – “Wind energy is something we can get done if it’s subject to a special permit,” said Planner Peter Brooks.
Brooks made the comment during the Planning Board’s April 7 meeting. Members were discussing the Annual Town Meeting at which voters rejected a citizen’s petition to allow residential wind turbine by right.
Enough support was voiced that the board could bring a new wind bylaw forward, said Brooks.
Planner Barbara Brady agreed.
The board shouldn’t wait until next September to begin working on a new wind-energy conversion systems bylaw, said Planner Joseph Sudol.
“If we want to do this, we should do it right,” he said.
There will most likely be a Special Town Meeting in May or June, said board Chairman Mary Essary. She asked if the board wanted to begin holding hearings on a wind-energy bylaw before then.
“We have the interest of the town,” said Brady. The board should immediately continue with the bylaw, he said.
The board can’t say yet whether a bylaw would be ready by the next special or annual town meeting, said Brady.
Former associate planner Leo Blair, recently elected to the Board of Selectmen, attended the meeting to encourage the board to continue working on a wind-energy bylaw.
“The citizen’s petition has captured the attention and imagination of the town,” he said. It would be a show of good faith and appreciation to bring a bylaw forward sooner than later, he said.
But Sudol had concerns. He said bringing a bylaw up at an impending special town meeting would only give the board a few meetings to prepare a wind bylaw. He said he’d like to see all of the board’s members involved in the process by reading the wind bylaws provided by the disbanded Wind Energy Conversion System Subcommittee. He also said they should observe an actual wind turbine to better understand its impact on its surroundings.
Blair was also at the meeting to step down as an associate Planning Board member. Now a selectmen, he said he could not longer serve as an associate planner. He also took the opportunity to tell the Planning Board it was the finest assembly of volunteers in Harvard.
By Richard Breyer
11 April 2008
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