December 8, 2010

Falmouth ZBA to hear turbine permit request

By: Brent Runyon, The Enterprise, 7 December 2010

Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals will hear an application for a special permit for a new wind turbine on Thursday in Falmouth Town Hall at 6:30 PM.

J.K. Scanlan Company Inc. applied to the board of appeals for a special permit to build a turbine more than 150 feet tall, measured to the tip of the blade at the highest point, at 15 Research Road, East Falmouth, in Falmouth Technology Park, about 1,000 feet from the Notus Clean Energy turbine.

The turbine will be 131 feet high at the hub with a 48-foot diameter turbine blade. It is a 225-kilowatt Aeronautica turbine, which will generate electricity for the 11,800-square-foot office building; any excess energy will be sold to the grid.

The application comes just a week after the Falmouth Planning Board instituted a threefold strategy to restrict new wind turbines in town.

Last week the planning board voted unanimously that there be at least a year-long moratorium on new wind turbines, but that moratorium will not take effect until January at the earliest.

The board also voted to send a letter to the Barnstable County Commissioners, to declare the Upper Cape and perhaps all of Cape Cod a district of critical planning concern (DCPC) for wind turbines. This would add another layer to the permitting process for a turbine project.

Another restriction would be to adopt a new wind turbine zoning bylaw that would replace the town’s existing outdated bylaw, which is in draft stage.

Robert H. Ament, the attorney representing J.K. Scanlan, said there is currently no moratorium in place, and even if the town did adopt the new bylaw, this project would comply with it.

He pointed out that the top of the proposed turbine would be 265 feet below the existing Notus Clean Energy turbine.

“The Scanlan turbine is in the technology park and is dramatically smaller,” he said. “This is just a completely different project.”

Mr. Ament said the turbine will be more than 1,300 feet from the nearest residence. There were no letters opposing the project at the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals, as of yesterday afternoon.

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