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Neighbor nixes Fitchburg resident’s wind turbine

FITCHBURG – A proposal to install the city’s first wind turbine died because a resident’s neighbor didn’t want to have to look at it, a Blossom Street resident said Tuesday.

“I was very, very disappointed,” Joseph D. Byrne said. “It’s such a tremendous place to put it.”

Byrne submitted an application to install a 232-foot wind energy system on property he owns on Mount Vernon Street.

Byrne said he withdrew his application from the city because his neighbor, who holds a view easement on the property, didn’t want it in near his back yard.

Byrne said the turbine would have produced enough power for his house, plus some.

The land’s deed has a view easement on it, meaning that anything built on the property must be approved by the abutting property owners.

Byrne said he got verbal approval from his neighbors in the spring, but as plans became more serious and he processed an application with the city, his neighbor changed his mind.

“It was well within his right to say no, so no it is,” Byrne said.

The plans also would have required approval from the city’s planning and zoning boards before the turbine was installed.

But Byrne said his plans would have been within the guidelines of city regulations.

Earlier this year, the city’s Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and City Council spent months creating and debating a wind energy ordinance governing the installation of wind turbines.

Byrne said even though his plan to install a turbine didn’t work out, he’s confident one day someone will be successful.

“Sooner or later someone is going to have the land where there’s not going to be people complaining,” Byrne said.

By Brandon Butler

Sentinel & Enterprise

16 July 2008