FAIRHAVEN – The town’s Planning Board voted Tuesday night to approve a two-turbine wind project, the last stamp of approval developer CCI Energy needed to move forward.
“We’re off and running,” said James Sweeney, president of CCI. “It’s one more step. I mean, there’s plenty more steps to come, but at least we’re making progress.”
Six of the board’s eight members voted for the project. Wayne Hayward voted against it, and one member abstained.
“I support the project, but I just felt the board was moving too fast,” Mr. Hayward said. “If you push me to vote, I guess I have to vote nay.”
Mr. Hayward said he did not know a vote on the project would be taken at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Planning Board previously held a two-night public hearing on the project the last two Tuesdays in April.
“I had a lot of concerns still, and the abutters had a lot of concerns,” Mr. Hayward said. “I don’t know that you can allay all the fears. I just thought we could have taken a little more care here and made sure we knew exactly what we were doing.”
One of the conditions of approval the Planning Board issued was that CCI must provide 25 trees a year to the town’s tree warden, Mr. Sweeney said. Those trees can be planted anywhere in town.
Although some residents have vocally opposed the project, Mr. Sweeney said he is hopeful the Planning Board’s approval will end the debate.
“I’m hoping that we’ve made a good enough case to show why this is a good thing for the town,” he said. “You can’t always please 100 percent of the people, but we’re trying.”
According to Selectman Brian Bowcock, Mr. Sweeney now has a clear road to erect the turbines.
“You want to give people their opportunity to speak, to voice their concerns,” Mr. Bowcock said. “You want board members to be able to ask different questions. And I think the process has worked.”
The next steps in the project are to complete the financing and to get the electrical inter-tie and building permits, Mr. Sweeney said.
“Now that the permits are close to being in hand … even if there were appeals at this point, the financer would go forward,'” he said.
By Charis Anderson
Standard-Times Staff Writer
15 May 2008
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