PLYMOUTH – He claimed to be neither for nor against his cousin’s plan to site an AES WindJet turbine on his property. But Paul Almeida’s tone betrayed his irritation when he addressed the Zoning Board of Appeals Wednesday night.
“My house is directly below this,” Almeida said. “There ain’t no way I’m not going to see flicker and I’m not going to hear the noise.”
Stephen Almeida of Almeida’s Used Cars and Parts at 20 Columbus Road is partnering with Sergio Quadros of Cleanergie Clean Energy Architecture to transform the salvage auto yard it into a clean energy complex. The first step they’re taking is to install a 79-foot AES WindJet turbine, which would generate 5 kilowatts of electricity and function as a display for interested customers.
But Stephen’s cousin Paul, of Paul Almeida Towing, at 10 Columbus Road, and Stephen’s brother, Vance Almeida, of Almeida’s Inspection at 18 Columbus Road, both say they have concerns and questions that need answers.
Vance said he supports his brother, but asked if the turbine could be positioned elsewhere on the site in the event the structure should topple onto his house and garage, which directly abut the salvage yard. Paul said he’s concerned that, in addition to the noise and shadow the turbine will cast, his property value will be adversely impacted by it.
Meanwhile, executives at the nearby radio station, WPLM, are concerned the turbine will interfere with the radio signal.
The Zoning Board of Appeals requested the applicant, James Sweeney of Sustainable New Energy, pay for an independent sound study to determine what the noise output of the turbine would be. The ZBA also requested that engineers and attorneys for WPLM and Sweeney work together to resolve the issue of possible radio interference. The ZBA continued the hearing to 8 p.m., May 18.
Sweeney’s company will own the turbine and lease the land from the Almeidas. He’s applied for a special permit for structures below 100-feet rather than opting for the town’s wind turbine bylaw, which requires a balloon test and other costly demonstrations. The turbine would generate 40 decibels of sound, which is far below the maximum allowed 60 decibels, and would be masked by sounds in this area of town, which abuts Route 44 traffic, Quadros said.
Duxbury Attorney John Woods said the project’s lack of data is troubling to WPLM, which he represents, largely because of possible interference with the radio station’s signal. Quadros said these turbines have been erected in Europe and Korea near radio stations without interference problems because engineering work is employed to eliminate them. He and Sweeney assured Woods that the turbine would be dismantled and taken down if it causes any disturbance at the station. WPLM’s engineer and Sweeney’s engineer are working toward an agreed-upon detuning method, he added.
“It has the potential of causing grave damage to our signal,” Woods said. “Let’s get it right now so it doesn’t have to come down.”
ZBA members David Peck and Michael Main both said they would like more definitive information regarding the noise impact of the turbine.
“I would love to have this peer reviewed,” Main added.
The ZBA voted unanimously to continue the hearing and have the project reviewed by a certified sound engineer. If WPLM and the applicant’s engineers and attorneys can’t work out the radio signal issue, ZBA Chairman Peter Conner said, he can request a peer review for this concern as well.
Peer review is an option boards like the ZBA employ to obtain a professional and objective, third-party opinion of a project or issue; the applicant covers the cost of this review.
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