While many bow to renewable energy for its potential to reduce pollution and our dependence on foreign oil, Milton is quickly learning that not everyone will prostrate themselves before it.
Its experience is a reminder that while green is good, it does not absolve those who embrace it from building the kind of relationships necessary in any project that casts a shadow – metaphorically or actually – on entities beyond a community’s borders.
With near universal support from residents, Milton officials recently announced plans to erect a wind turbine on town-owned land near the Granite Links golf course on the Quincy border.
Quarry Hills Associates, which owns the course, immediately balked, suing based on concerns about noise, shadows and aesthetics. But the town seems determined to plow on.
“The only opposition is QHA, whose owner and main mouthpiece, Charles Geilich, resides in Florida and seems to have no concern for Milton’s environmental or fiscal health and well-being,” Richard Kleiman, chairman of the Milton Wind Energy Committee, wrote in a column published here Wednesday.
That’s not exactly bridge-building language. It’s no longer accurate either. QHA is not the only opposition to Milton’s plans. The Quincy City Council voted Tuesday night to let Milton know it, too, is unhappy.
“I can not sit idly by while the town of Milton, without any consultation with the city of Quincy, essentially drops a 500-foot turbine on our border,” said city councilor Brian Palmucci, who represents West Quincy. “At the very least, the residents I represent deserve an opportunity to be heard on this matter.”
Palmucci is right.
Milton may have already proven it is willing to alter its plans to placate some of its neighbors concerns. It has, for example, said it will program the turbine to shut down when flicker from the turbine’s blades may affect the golfing area.
But the town needs to sit down with opponents and begin building the relationships that should have been established earlier in the process. It cannot simply push forward based on the premise that it’s a town project being built on town land.
A turbine may be a useful weapon in the fight to reduce energy costs, but it’s a bit unwieldy to use as a battering ram.
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