On Jan. 20, the Falmouth Zoning Board will hear more testimony and possibly give their determination on whether the town building commissioner was right or wrong in exempting the wind turbine 1 from the special permitting process.
Town representatives contend “we’re treating this (Wind1) as a functioning integrated waste water treatment plant.” Additionally, they contend that by virtue of Wind1’s location (public use district) and it’s owner (the town), “by right of a municipality” Wind1 should not be accountable to the discretionary nature of a special permit process.
The common citizen knows a wind turbine does not treat wastewater.
The activity of a project or structure, after all, is what determines a project’s use classification. Any and all modification or upgrade projects to the waste water treatment facility must be judged only on its contribution to the treatment of waste water. The nature of the principal activity is the measuring stick of use, not for whom the use provides a service.
The town introduced a feature to the Waste Water Treatment Facility that is not customary nor conforming to the traditional, present day WWTF. The common citizen, after the Energy Committee’s campaigning to Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen, accessed the turbine as being merely a power plant!
As for the power of “by right of a municipality” cited by town representatives, it’s power is still subordinate to the power to determining whether a use or activity will cause harm to public safety and general welfare.
This development path chosen, campaigned for and implemented by town hall administration and the Energy Committee, bypassed the local boards responsible for the scrutiny of the potential health and safety impacts. This is a direct VIOLATION of zoning by-law.
The concerned citizen expects his or her protection to be the guiding principal employed when examining ALL projects, no matter their location. A power plant has it’s own unique package of ills. It’s comedic classification as a waste water treatment plant has served to bypass those ills, by-pass planning, zoning and health board review, and by-pass the special permit process design to give the common, concerned citizen their say!
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