The court of last resort has backed the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Commission’s support of the Barnstable committee’s decision not to grant a certificate of appropriateness for a wind turbine at Cape Cod Community College.
In her ruling, Barnstable District Court Associate Justice Joan E. Lynch found that the commission did not act arbitrarily in upholding the Barnstable OKH Historic District Committee’s decision. “Without merit” was how she described complaints by builder J.K. Scanlon Co., the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the college, that the Barnstable OKH had not considered the energy advantages of the project and that members of the local committee demonstrated a bias against the turbine.
“It is clear from the record that the decision of the local committee, rendered after a public hearing at which the plaintiffs were afforded a full opportunity to make a presentation in favor of the project, based its decision on rational grounds,” Lynch wrote.
“Clearly, the college is just devastated,” said Michael Gross, communications director for 4Cs. “It truly felt very, very strongly that this was something that needed to be considered and the judge determined summarily that the process the OKH used did not offer her the opportunity to consider the case and summarily dismissed it.”
At this point, Gross said, “the ball really is in DCAM’s court. We await word from the state office as to what the options really are. We really don’t know.”
A spokesman for the state Department of Capital Assessment Management said DCAM “is in the process of reviewing the Court’s decision.”
The turbine would have been erected on college property bordered by routes 6A and 132, as well as a handful of private homes. This was the second site for the college turbine that has been rejected.
“The first location on the other side of the campus was found to be in a so-called go-around pattern for Barnstable Municipal Airport,” Gross said. “Aircraft that couldn’t make a first landing would come up at certain wind conditions and go right over that section of campus to do a go-around and land again. We then went through a whole series of studies and work with our engineers, and as I understand it with the FAA as reviewers, and found that this location [nearer 6A] would provide very nearly the same conditions for wind energy.”
Gross said the college is “not aware there really are any other locations because of the way the geography of the campus is set up. To my knowledge, this is the very best number two location.”
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