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Delay vote on Turkey Hill turbine

What do you get when you put conservationists from Beverly in a room with the Cohasset Planning Board? Hint: it will be located on the Hingham town line, stand taller than a 747 jet airplane, be as loud as the deck of an aircraft carrier and will even have its own runway – you guessed it, an industrial wind turbine in the Whitney Thayer Woods.

On Jan. 7th, Declan Boland of the Community Advisory Committee wrote to this paper and updated the community on the progress that it has made with the FAA to reduce the number of flights flying over our area. Mr. Boland described a 10-year effort that required $100,000 of Hingham town appropriation, further support from Cohasset and Hull and another $8,000,000 spent by interested parties to complete what he described as phase one of a four part study on noise reduction. The result of this collaboration was an agreement to increase the altitude of flight paths and to disburse them more equitably over south shore towns. As a resident of the Turkey Hill area, I would like to thank Mr. Boland, his colleagues and the towns of Hingham, Cohasset and Hull for their efforts.

On Feb. 23rd, the Cohasset Planning Board will meet to vote on the industrial wind turbine proposed for the Whitney Thayer Woods, near the top of Turkey Hill. The plan has been put forward by the Trustees of Reservations, which is headquartered in the north shore town of Beverly. The turbine has the dimensions and characteristics of a jumbo jet. Its length of 410 feet and wingspan of 250 feet will exceed that of a 747 while the noise emitted from its hub of 170 decibels will exceed that found on an aircraft carrier. The combined weight of the turbine is 540 thousand pounds and will be set in 2 million pounds of concrete and steel rebar. The scope of this industrial development is unlike anything previously conceived in this area and not surprisingly the infrastructure to make it happen does not exist. To fix this problem the Trustees will construct a new 500-foot long “runway” that would extend Hingham’s Turkey Hill Lane to the development site. This would require another 500 thousand pounds of crushed stone and asphalt.

For 10 years our local governments, including Hingham and Cohasset, worked hand-in-hand to fight the impacts of airline flight traffic on our local community while in a few short months the Cohasset Planning Board’s decision may allow the Trustees from Beverly to lay a new “runway” at the top of Turkey Hill Lane, truck 3 million pounds of equipment up Hingham’s side streets and plunk the equivalent of a 747 on its tail near the top of Turkey Hill. With this industrial development, the Trustees will permanently destroy conservation land that they have been entrusted to protect, land that the Trustees themselves describe as a “special place.” None of this makes any sense to me. The Cohasset Planning Board should delay its vote and reach out to Hingham town government agencies. For a project of this scope, Cohasset and Hingham should work closely to understand the long-term impacts to the larger community.

William M. Driscoll

4 Pheasant Run