Abutters to Wachusett Regional High School are appealing a decision by the Holden Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a special permit for a 196-foot high meteorological tower on land behind the school.
Sixteen households on Jennifer Drive, Avery Heights Drive, Britney Drive and Courtney Drive have filed an appeal to a decision filed July 2 by the ZBA to allow the tower for a period of not more than two years. The tower would have to be removed within 30 days of the completion of the study.
The device would be used to measure wind to determine whether it would be suitable for a wind turbine that would supply power for the high school.
The suit argues that the circumstances of the high school, which is not a “scientific research or development or related production” facility, do not fall under the special permit guidelines in Holden zoning bylaws.
The suit also argues that the meteorological tower “whose only purpose is to determine whether it is suitable to construct another structure [a wind turbine] which cannot be built under the existing bylaw is unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.”
A wind turbine, the suit argues, is a power plant, according to Holden’s bylaws, and not allowed in the residential-suburban 2 zoning district.
The suit was filed July 21 in Worcester Superior Court.
The abutters made their objections known at the June 24 ZBA meeting where PLACES Site Consultant representative William Murray presented details about the tower.
Murray said the tower would not be lit or brightly painted and would make no noise. He said it would also be “virtually non-visible from residential structures.” Some neighbors on Britney Dr. might be able to see the structure because of the immature trees on that street; other streets have mature trees that would block that view.
Residents told the ZBA that they were concerned that the met tower would pave the way for a structure that would be twice as tall and would be visible, as well as making noise.
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