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Wind turbine plan stalls in Shelton  

Credit:  By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, Register Correspondent, New Haven Register, www.nhregister.com 10 August 2010 ~~

SHELTON – It appears a proposal to harness the power of the wind by installing a turbine at a city business has died down for now.

MBI Inc. on Forrest Parkway had enlisted the services of Torrington-based Optiwind Corp. to propose regulations for the city’s first wind turbine technology, but the application for such regulations is slated to be withdrawn.

Shelton currently has no regulations on its books governing the alternative energy resource. MBI, a company that manufactures various sports memorabilia and other collectibles, wanted to install a wind turbine, in part to reduce its utility costs.

However, Optiwind officials submitted a letter to zoning officials on Friday, requesting to withdraw its application in which it proposed new regulations specific to wind turbines.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is set to meet at 7 tonight at City Hall to act on the request. The commission last month closed a public hearing on Optiwind’s proposal, and was expected to discuss and possibly take action on what had been proposed.

PZC Chairman Ruth Parkins, however, said the applicant hand-delivered a letter to the zoning department, asking to withdraw the proposal. Parkins said Monday she had not seen the letter, but heard the applicant did not indicate a reason for withdrawing the application.

Dave Hurwitt, Optiwind’s vice president of marketing and business development, declined comment, and it was not clear whether the applicant will further tweak the proposal and return at a later date.

At the public hearing, several residents, as well as the commissioners, expressed concerns about wind turbine technology, especially since it’s rather new here.

The proposed regulations were not specific to MBI or Optwind, but rather would have pertained to businesses in Shelton’s light industrial park zones interested in installing commercial wind turbines.

The city’s planning consultant, Anthony Panico, had cited concerns about the proximity of wind turbines from the road, and noise associated with their use. He said because the technology is so new, there were many unknowns. Panico also said that Optiwind’s proposal was “inconsistent” with Shelton’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

Optiwind officials, however, said the proposal was consistent with Shelton’s plan by supporting “green technology” and encouraging alternative energy resources.

Several neighbors, over the course of the public hearing that began in May, expressed concerns about having a 200-foot tall turbine in their backyards, potential noise and the potential for the turbine to pose a hazard in the event of a hurricane or tornado.

Optiwind officials said their wind turbines are different than the conventional three-bladed turbines, are designed for less windy areas with greater population densities, and are shorter, more compact, quieter, safer and easier to maintain.

Source:  By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, Register Correspondent, New Haven Register, www.nhregister.com 10 August 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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