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Wind turbine zoning change upheld  

Credit:  Mitch Evich, MMA Associate Director, Massachusetts Municipal Association, www.mma.org 2 November 2010 ~~

The attorney general’s office in September upheld a zoning change in Dartmouth designed to facilitate wind power on town-owned property.

In June, Town Meeting eliminated the requirement of a special permit for a proposed $9.5 million wind turbine on town land. The new bylaw allows wind turbines to be erected on town-owned or town-leased property so long as setback and other dimensional requirements are met. Some residents, however, filed suit, leading to the ruling by the attorney general’s office.

In a two-page letter sent to the town on Sept. 13, Municipal Law Unit Director Margaret Hurley noted that actions taken by Town Meeting carry “a strong presumption of validity.” Quoting from a 1997 court decision, Hurley wrote that the state must approve a zoning bylaw unless “the zoning regulation is arbitrary or unreasonable, or substantially unrelated to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.”

Dartmouth Executive Administrator David Cressman said that the bylaw was modeled on what was already in place in nearby Fairhaven.

Source:  Mitch Evich, MMA Associate Director, Massachusetts Municipal Association, www.mma.org 2 November 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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