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Special permit: Gone with the wind?  

Credit:  By Doug Fraser, Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 26 March 2011 ~~

BREWSTER – Opponents of the town’s municipal wind turbine proposal cried foul Friday when they found out selectmen would be discussing a proposed town meeting warrant article to eliminate the requirement for a special permit.

Selectmen will discuss the proposed warrant article at their meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in Town Hall. It would remove the special permit requirement for any municipal wind turbine project located in an industrially zoned area, regardless of the project’s size.

Earlier this month, the planning board could not reach a decision on whether or not to issue the required special permit for two 410-foot tall turbines proposed for town-owned land in an industrial park off Freemans Way. With three members firmly opposed to the project, they could not gain the super-majority of five votes required to issue the permit.

The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative and the town are currently trying to determine whether to appeal that non-decision in court.

The cooperative, a collaboration of Cape and Martha’s Vineyard towns and agencies, proposed purchasing and installing the turbines. It would have paid the town $100,000 a year to lease that land and lower the energy costs of municipal departments.

Opponents were critical of the potential health impacts and aesthetics of the large turbines.

“I think it’s outrageous that they would take power away from one of their boards because they don’t like the decision they made and assume it for themselves,” Yvonne Relin, who is opposed to the project, said about the selectmen’s proposed warrant article.

Selectmen would still have to approve the article for it to be included on the town meeting warrant and it requires a two-thirds majority vote. It also has to receive a public hearing before the planning board and a decision on whether to recommend it to voters.

Town Administrator Charles Sumner said the warrant article would put the issue before town voters. Town meeting voters have backed the turbine proposal in several prior votes.

Source:  By Doug Fraser, Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 26 March 2011

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