PLYMOUTH – The discussion hasn’t officially begun but neighbors are already voicing concerns about the possibility of a wind turbine on the grounds of the new Plymouth North High School.
Several neighbors of the school turned out Thursday for a Building Committee meeting that school officials had said would discuss the plan.
School officials decided to delay a presentation until noise tests can be completed, but that did not stop one neighbor from registering opposition.
Richard Tavares of Nook Road said he lives 630 feet from the front door of the high school and will be even closer to the turbine that is being eyed for the existing school parking lot. “It might as well be in my backyard,” Tavares said.
Tavares told the committee he visited four turbines on Cape Cod earlier Thursday and found all four to be noisy and in isolated, non-residential areas.
“Every one is just about out in the boondocks,” Tavares said. “Let me just say I heard a lot of swooshing from a thousand feet away.”
Tavares said he was also concerned about the so-called flicker or shadow effect of the turbine. Several other neighbors attended the meeting but did not address the issue.
School officials are considering the installation of a turbine at the school as a means of reducing energy costs. Tests conducted at the nearby county farm have shown the area would be a prime site for the production of wind power.
School Superintendent Gary Maestas said the consultants overseeing the school project had planned to present a proposal about the turbines at Thursday’s meeting but now want to complete a noise study first.
“We want to be good neighbors and do the right thing for the property,” Maestas said. “It’s a concept at this point.”
The consultant will meet with neighbors to determine the best times of day to study noise levels in neighborhoods around the school. The consultants have already completed three other tests, including a study of the shadow effect.
Building Committee Chairman David Peck assured neighbors the project is far from a done deal and will get a full hearing. The committee must first recommend construction of a turbine. The plan must then win approvals from the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. “No decisions have been made,” Peck said.