The article “Wind resistance/Plans for turbines generate questions, opposition” (Telegram & Gazette, Nov. 17) illuminates the core protections afforded to citizens in communities determining if and where wind turbines will be sited, current zoning. A two-thirds town meeting vote is required for a zoning change.
Enter the wind bill. The intent of the bill is to shift the power of town meeting vote to an appointed panel that would make all wind turbine siting decisions. This bill constitutes the erosion of public and environmental protections now in place in communities that include setbacks, height restrictions and all local requirements.
The Nov. 15 Boston Business Journal reported that, according to state energy spokeswoman Lisa Capone, the wind bill would not allow the state to overrule local zoning rules. However, according to the wind bill, the wind energy permitting board created by the bill “has the authority to waive any local requirements needed to permit the facility, including, e.g., use limits and height limits in local zoning bylaws.”
The wind bill is a bad bill as it undermines citizens’ rights by design. It’s coauthored by a wind developer seeking unlimited, unmerited development potential and profits. By the wind bill, the public surrenders current zoning protections and the power of town meeting’s two-thirds vote to wind developers and their investors.
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