PLYMOUTH – They circled the wagons Monday night over a plan to site a 364-foot wind turbine on Scobee Circle.
More than 70 abutters and residents filled the seats in the Mayflower Room at Town Hall, many voicing vehement opposition to the plan they say would destroy their quality of life, drastically reduce property values, be an overall nuisance and a possible health hazard.
But the neighbors aren’t the only ones objecting. Plymouth Municipal Airport Manager Tom Maher does not agree with the Federal Aviation Administration’s ruling that the turbine would not be a flight hazard.
“I think this is a behemoth stuck in a highly residential area,” Kevin Steel of North Triangle Drive told the Planning Board. “It’s the worst possible location a turbine could ever be located.”
Several others noted that the proposed wind turbine would be situated on a hill, making it even more visible.
Shadow flicker effect, or the strobing, on-again-off-again light and shadow play of the wind turbine’s blades as they rotate, will be mitigated by trees, according to Atlantic Design engineer Richard Tabaczynski. The shadow flicker analysis, which found three commercial sites in the area would experience more than 30-hours-per-year shadow flicker effect, assumes a completely flat landscape, he added, thus skewing the results, which would be significantly lower with the foliage as an added factor. Tabaczynski noted that all homes in the area are well below that 30-hour annual threshold used in Europe as the nuisance level benchmark for shadow flicker effect.
A noise study determined the project would also fall within guidelines, he said, and the FAA has determined the turbine would not be a hazard to air travel.
But the town Planning Technician Patrick Farah said Maher has lingering concerns, and the town’s staff is waiting for him to provide details about those issues. Staff is also awaiting a response from Atlantic Design, which is doing the engineering work on the plan, regarding other concerns.
“Even though the decibel levels are within the bylaw, they are reaching close to the upper range of levels,” Farah added.
A test was scheduled for Saturday (Nov. 13) in which a balloon is located at the site and flown to the elevation of the proposed turbine height, he explained.
“It’s not good for our neighborhood and it’s not good for the town of Plymouth,” Allan Robins of North Triangle Drive said.
Cayuga Circle resident Laurel Weinstock noted that the turbine is huge – half the height of Boston’s Prudential Center.
“It’s far too big and it’s far too close,” Planning Board member Bill Wennerberg said, once public comment closed. “Folks live near it – too near it. And they were there first. It will absolutely affect the quality of life there.”
Planning Board member Tim Grandy said the board needs to protect the health and safety of residents, and the zoning bylaw specifically notes that projects should not adversely affect the visual character of a neighborhood. This proposed turbine will, he said.
“There is no way to mitigate this tower from impacting abutting neighborhoods,” Planning Board Chairman Marc Garrett said. “I’m not in favor of this project as it stands right now.”
The Planning Board voted, 3-1, against recommending the Zoning Board of Appeals grant the applicant, Sheava LLC, a special permit to erect the structure. Planning Board Vice Chairman Paul McAlduff was the only vote in favor of the plan. Planning Board member Larry Rosenblum was not present.
The Zoning Board is slated to consider the proposal after 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 1, in the Mayflower meeting room at Town Hall on Lincoln Street.
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