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Wind tower plans spur opposition; Developers proposing eight new wind turbines in Plymouth  

Credit:  By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff, The Boston Globe, www.boston.com 18 November 2010 ~~

If Plymouth officials give the green light, America’s Hometown could soon become home to several power-generating wind turbines.

Four developers are proposing wind turbine projects for the town, and officials have scheduled a slew of meetings and hearings on the plans.

On Monday the Planning Board will look at a proposal by Colony Place Development LLC to build a 65-meter-tall wind turbine at Colony Place, and a separate proposal by Keith Mann and Future Generation Wind LLC to build a wind turbine on Bournehurst Drive.

On Tuesday, the Conservation Commission will review the Bournehurst Drive project, along with Mann’s proposal to build three more turbines on Head of the Bay Road, and a proposal by Sustainable New Energy Inc. to construct two 100-meter-tall turbines on Hedges Pond Road. And on Dec. 1, the Zoning Board of Appeals will review a plan by Sheava LLC to build a 70-meter-tall wind turbine on Scobee Circle.

Like wind turbine projects elsewhere that have run into local opposition, the Plymouth proposals are being looked upon warily by neighbors, who say they are concerned about the structures’ potential effect on their quality of life.

The larger 100-meter (328-foot) turbines are particularly worrisome, officials said.

“We’re not aware of any of this size in the region . . . nothing on this type of scale,’’ said Lee Hartmann, Plymouth’s director of planning and development. “In general, people in the town of Plymouth are supportive of wind energy. But given the size of these structures, . . . there are a lot of concerns from the neighbors about noise, flicker, and their impact on property values.’’

Similar concerns have cropped up in other communities. Even the most environmentally conscious neighbors can have different opinions when it comes to building a large wind turbine in their backyard.

Plymouth has a bylaw governing wind turbines, but it’s relatively new. Since it was enacted in 2005, several projects have been proposed, but none have been built. One plan has been approved, for a turbine in Camelot Industrial Park that would be 394 feet from the ground to the top of its blade. That project has yet to begin, Hartmann said.

Other proposals have drawn the ire of many residents.

Neighbors packed a recent Town Hall hearing to object to a wind turbine planned for Scobee Circle whose tower would measure 70 meters tall (approximately 230 feet). The structure would be about 364 feet tall from the ground to the tip of the blade.

Kevin Steel, a resident of North Triangle Drive, said he lives 1,200 feet away from the Scobee Circle site and he’s concerned about noise. He said the nearby pond and ridge amplify all sounds, even quiet conversations. He’s also concerned about its size, and worries what would happen if it fell over.

“This is a massive structure; it’s going to tower over everything. This thing will be the equivalent of 36 stories high,’’ said Steel. “Clearly it’s going to affect our property values and quality of life. This is huge. Huge. . . . I think it’s the wrong place to put it.’’

Steel said he and more than 100 of his West Plymouth neighbors plan to attend the Dec. 1 zoning board meeting.

Residents in South Plymouth are opposing Sustainable New Energy’s plan to build two turbines in the Cedarville section, on Hedges Pond Road. Neighbors who live on Treetop Way say the turbines could spoil their view, lower property values, create noise and “flicker’’ problems, and possibly interfere with bees.

James P. Sweeney of Sustainable New Energy Inc. said he isn’t surprised by the opposition.

“I don’t think there’s a turbine project in Massachusetts that doesn’t have opposition,’’ he said. “Some people are for it, some are against it. Even though it’s good for the environment, and helps with our dependence on foreign oil. . . . Turbines cannot be hidden.’’

Sweeney said he’s proposing two 100-meter-tall wind turbines – each with 60- to 70-meter towers – on the Arthur Anderson cranberry bog, near Exit 2 off Route 3. Each turbine could produce 2 megawatts – enough electricity for 700 homes each.

Sustainable New Energy Inc. officials said noise and shadow flicker would be minimized by abutting trees and nearby Route 3.

The turbines would supply electricity to Plymouth for its municipal buildings at a discount, and the project is expected to generate about $76,000 annually in property tax revenue, according to company officials.

If all goes according to plan, the turbines could be erected by summer 2011, Sweeney said.

Source:  By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff, The Boston Globe, www.boston.com 18 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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