Cohasset’s alternative energy committee updated the planning board on their progress in tweaking the town’s wind turbine by-law.
The committee’s amendments include lowering the current wind turbine height from 100 meters to 80 meters, increasing set-backs from property lines from 1 times the height to 1.5 times and adding a restriction of 3 times the height to the nearest residential dwelling.
It’s no secret that most people who are against wind turbines just don’t like the way they look and the current by-law addresses visual impact. But committee chair Andrew Willard says that regulation may be removed.
“The original by-law had verbiage that the planning board could make recommendations to minimize visual impact. But it’s very hard to minimize the impact of something that’s 80 meters tall. So, what’s the value of having a visual impact statement, when there’s nothing that can be done to hide that?” said Willard.
Planning board member William Hannon puts the issue this way – “You can quantify noise and flicker. But how do you define ugly? I’m telling you – I know what it is. If you start writing laws against ugly – how do you do that?”
The committee is hoping to wrap it up and have a final version in time for spring town meeting. The Turkey Hill wind turbine proposal would not be subject to the updated by-law, if that application is submitted before the by-law is approved.
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