Opponents of a proposal to place six 500-foot tall wind turbines on five separate cranberry bogs in Wareham took center stage Wednesday night during a meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Michael S. McCann of McCann Appraisal LLC flew in from Chicago to speak on behalf of critics on the proposal. He told a packed audience at the Town Hall Auditorium that research shows homes located within two miles of wind turbines loose 25 percent of their value.
“Industrial-style wind turbines change the essential character of the area,” he said, added that the town could lose up to $112 million of its market value based on the locations of the proposed turbines. He also noted the noise pollution often associated with turbines of that size.
“Nuisance issues drive people to sell at a discount,” he said.
According to Peter Guldberg, an independent consultant hired to perform a peer review for the town, said the noise pollution could reach as high as nine decibels near the homes closest to the turbines. He also took the proponents of the project – Beaufort Windpower LCC – to task for an alleged lack of research into ambient noise issues.
Company president Glen Berkowitz said his firm will do everything possible to lessen any negative impact the turbines may have on neighbors. He claimed that many of the concerns voiced by residents will not come to fruition because much of the research cited by opponents is based on much larger turbines.
McCann rejected that claim, saying “You can’t fit an elephant in a shower. That’s what they’re trying to do here.”
The “Bog Wind Power Cooperative Project” would, if approved, include four turbines off Charge Pond Road (on three separate bogs), one off Blackmore Pond Road, and another off Cranberry Highway in East Wareham.
Residents had other concerns beyond property values and noise pollution. Barry Cosgrove noted that the blades of the turbines would create a “strobe effect” on surrounding properties.
Berkowitz claimed the project would generate nearly $250,000 in tax revenue for the town annually, provide $100,000 in permit fees, and would help support cranberry growers by providing them with free electricity. Opponents say the amount of tax revenue is greatly exaggerated, in part because of the expected depreciation of equipment involved.
The hearing was continued to a later date.
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