BOURNE – The Cape Cod Commission subcommittee reviewing the New Generation Wind turbine project proposed for Bournedale told the public Monday night its scrutiny would be complete and far from “speedy” before any recommendation is issued.
The wind farm proposal continues to be described as like none other in the annals of agency regulatory review. Commission staffers remain concerned about the appearance of the seven-turbines proposed off Scenic Highway by Tudor Ingersoll of Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Aggregates owner Samuel Lorusso.
The project that could affect the Pilgrim Pines, Nightingale Pond Estates and Heather Hill subdivisions.
Commission staffers said the proposal is within the village area of a District of Critical Planning Concern, which seeks to protect rural and scenic characteristics of the area.
Atlantic Design, consultants to New Wind, revised their early photo simulations of the proposed turbines to more accurately reflect the scale of the structures in relation to their surroundings.
John Lipman of Lipman Development Strategies, a consultant working for the developers, told the agency the turbines would more or less harmoniously coexist with electric utility facilities already in place, saying in effect that Bournedale is less than scenic as suggested by proposal critics.
“This is certainly not a pristine area, but rather a well developed area with many uses, much traffic and utility easements,” Lipman said. “It is important to say that is not something being foisted on the area but rather a solution leading Cape Cod in terms of achieving alternative energy.”
Lipman said his clients, however, would be willing to work with abutters to address their concerns about the 492-foot turbines; something that would carry over to Bourne Planning Board regulatory review of venture as well.
No glaring flaw seems to have evolved in project planning. But New Wind consultants and Commission staffers disagree about the amount of open space that must be set aside at the wind farm tract. The consultants are arguing for 4.6 acres, saying disturbed land will revert to its natural state after turbine construction.
The agency, however, seeks 18.6 acres, saying the disturbed area is land being used commercially; something Lipman and company hope to reverse in the final decision-making and recommendation to the full Commission.
“The project is typically not a commercial use,” Lipman said. “The disturbed land will be restored. This project is something different than any other reviewed by the Commission. We are using the wind, not the land; so we seek flexibility in terms of open space.”
Bourne Town Planner Coreen Moore said the proposal complies with zoning and local comprehensive planning goals. Bourne Energy Coordinator Richard Elrick said the project would benefit the entire town and region; and that the town supports it.
James Mulvey of Buzzards Bay said a few town committees might indeed support the proposal but the general populace may not, prompting Elrick to quickly tell the Commission that he was speaking personally.
Board of health member Galon “Skip” Barlow said his panel has taken no position on the proposal and urged the Commission not to issue a ruling until local review of public health and environment concerns still to be unveiled are addressed.
“Don’t rush into any decision until the issues are resolved,” Barlow said. “This is not a green technology park. It won’t employ people in the end. It is a project to make a handful of people some money.”
Selectman Stephen Mealy said he supports alternative energy efforts but listed three concerns: what happens with the turbines after 25 years of usage, the analysis and subjective quantification of turbine noise data and the location of some structures less than 1,000 feet from homes.
Pilgrim Pines residents assembled a program to delineate for the Commission its main concern about the Ingersoll/Lorusso proposal; notably noise impacting their neighborhood between Nightingale Pond and the Ingersoll tract.
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