ESSEX – Bill Holton, chairman of the task force, presented the lengthy article and initiated discussion, which included changes to the wording of the proposed bylaws governing use of the turbines. It was decided, for example, that the term “wind farms” does not apply to the uses recommended for private buildings, as it has become a common term elsewhere to describe commercial and industrial uses with large numbers of turbines and lends confusion to the concepts being recommended for homes.
The turbines, which can rise to a limit of 150 feet per structure, are designed to harness energy to reduce reliance on other energy resources. They are expensive, at about $20,0000 per unit, but over time they could significantly alter dependence on commercial utilities for homeowners.
Changes to the proposal were minor and in the spirit of encouraging use, such as allowing heights to rise above taller roofs and gables where needed and to allow noise from turbines near lot lines if abutters give permission.
Jane Adams of Belcher Street rose to thank the Planning Board and committees that worked on the proposal.
“They really tried to address the issues from all sides,” she said.
“They went over this with a fine-toothed comb,” Andrew St. John of Forest Street added. “I believe this is the best match for what Essex needs.”
A question was raised about density and the possibility of these units being put to commercial use, perhaps in large numbers, on properties that have enough acreage to create a virtual forest of them at one per acre. Holton reassured voters that care had been taken to discourage this.
“We really tried to strike a balance,” he said.
Susan “Scottie” Robinson said the Planning Board had been very explicit in limiting the density to one unit per acre, following a public hearing in February where the density issues had been addressed at length.
John Guerin told voters he thought the WECS proposal represented a good compromise plan for the town, and suggested neighborhoods get together to explore the option of pooling resources to share a wind turbine to increase usage across Essex.
The measure passed by a two-thirds margin, by voice vote.
By Pamela Campbell Cleaves
Cape Ann Beacon
9 May 2008
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