DENNIS – Rosemarie Austin of Dennis is determined to stop a 600-kilowatt wind turbine from spoiling the view from her home at 27 Spadoni Way.
Austin has appealed to the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Commission to overturn the local committee’s approval of a 243-foot turbine on Aquacultural Research Corporation’s property adjacent to Chapin Beach in Dennis.
In a letter dated Sept. 1, Austin states that the turbine “is non-conforming to the [Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District] Act. It is disruptive and obtrusive to all surrounding population and recreational facilities and is a direct violation of the Act.”
Austin charges that the Dennis committee’s decision is a “misinterpretation” of the act regarding the turbine’s size, “in relation to the surrounding pristine historic area.” She says that renewable energy devices “should be designed and constructed in such a manner as to blend in with existing features in the immediate area,” and calls the project “destructive to the environment and detrimental to the historic values.”
ARC Vice President Gail Hart said she doesn’t know why Austin represented herself as an abutter in her appeal, when her property does not abut ARC’s. “The appeal was no surprise – we’ve been expecting this from the beginning,” Hart said. “It’s a low cost way of aggravating us. I do think we will continue to prevail.”
The regional commission is comprised of the chairperson of each of the six member towns’ historic district committees. Dennis chairman Peter Lomenzo, who also is chairman of the regional district commission, will not participate in the appeals hearing since it would be a conflict of interest for him to rule on his committee’s decision. The commission will elect a vice chairman at its Sept. 14 meeting, and that person will preside over Austin’s appeal.
“It’s the commission’s job to determine whether the local committee’s conduct was appropriate to the Act, to see if any one or more of five key points is substantiated,” Lomenzo said. Those points include whether the committee exceeded its authority; used poor judgment; made an erroneous decision; was arbitrary in its decision; or ruled capriciously. “They concentrate on what the committee did, not on their ruling; the process of the decision, not the decision itself.”
The commission may uphold, overturn or send the Dennis committee’s decision back, forcing the committee to reconsider the application.
Jim Wilson, attorney for the regional district commission, said at the hearing ARC will have a chance to provide a “clear and concise statement of the project, including all the pertinent facts.”
Austin will then have a chance to make a statement of her objection.
“Finally, the designee of the town that ruled presents the procedure by which their decision was made,” Wilson said.
Wilson expects the hearing to be conducted by month’s end, although a date had not been set by The Register’s deadline.
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