BREWSTER – The planning board heard from both sides Wednesday night in an often emotional public hearing on a special permit to build two industrial wind turbines on town-owned land in an industrial park off Freemans Way.
“We believe that each resident will benefit from this project (and that) this is a responsibly sited wind project,” said Steve Wiehe, the project director for consultants Weston and Sampson.
Wiehe was speaking on behalf of the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, which wants to spend $10 million to purchase and maintain the 410-foot-tall turbines. The cooperative estimated that the lease payments to rent the town land and lower energy costs for power provided to municipal departments would total $3.6 million paid to Brewster over a 20-year period.
Wiehe said the 106 acres of land in the industrial park was located within a district approved for small and large wind turbines. The closest abutter was 1,800 feet away, with most more than 3,000 feet away. Wiehe pointed to a feasibility study in June 2006, that selected Freemans Way as the most logical site to locate large wind turbines.
Supporters of the project said it was a necessary step to curtail global warming.
“My concerns are for my children, my great-grandchildren. We have to do something now,” said Patricia Policastro, who lives on Freemans Way.
“I am convinced of the safety of the turbines in terms of health and environmental impacts,” wrote Chuck Medansky, the nearest abutter, in a letter to the board. He supported the project because it would help decrease the hidden cost we pay in environmental impacts of burning coal.
Others were afraid that there were too many unanswered questions on potential health effects from the sound and flickering shadows from the enormous blades, and the impact on their property values.
“I ask those of you sitting there, which of you think that $100,000 a year is worth your quality of life,” Mitch Relin said to planning board members, referring to the annual lease fee that the Cape and Vineyard cooperative would pay the town.
“My husband and I bought a house in Brewster after being renters. We didn’t buy to be near this,” said Kara Kennedy Duff. “I pay my mortgage and I don’t want my property values to go down. Why not solar (power)?”
Gregory Bone, who owns WFCC, a classical radio station located in the industrial park, said the height and proximity of at least one of the two wind turbines would likely interfere with his radio signal and put the station in violation of its Federal Communications Commission license.
The electric cooperative has been looking at establishing a network of wind turbines and other renewable-energy sources, but has had a tough time on the Cape finding a site. Brewster could be the first to join the cooperative with municipal turbines.
The board voted to continue the public hearing to Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. to answer some of the questions raised.
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