The Bourne Planning Department has determined that if a citizen-petition article amending the town’s Winder Energy Conversion System bylaw is ultimately approved by voters, the controversial New Generation Wind turbine proposal could not be situated anywhere in town.
The citizen-petition article is headed to the May 2 Bourne Annual Town Meeting. It would dramatically alter the zoning bylaw governing review of turbine proposals and also expand setbacks to 10 times the width of the blades; among other features.
This would make it extremely difficult to place a turbine complex in town near any dwelling, residential zone or business zone that allows residential uses, Town Planner Coreen Moore said said.
“There would be no place in Bourne you could put the New Generation proposal,” Moore said Thursday afternoon. “Except on Otis.”
Moore mapped her contention and provided copies to Bourne Energy Coordinator Richard Elrick, a New Generation Wind proponent, and Selectman Jamie Sloniecki, a project opponent.
The Bourne Planning Board will consider the citizen-petition amendment again Thursday, April 14. A vote on a possible town meeting recommendation is likely. But there is no assurance the vote will result in a positive recommendation to town meeting voters; given that members spent two years drafting, revising and rewriting the turbine bylaw governing residential and commercial structures.
The Bourne Finance Committee on April 11 will also review the citizen-petition, which was advanced by townspeople who would live in the shadows of the seven-turbine wind farm proposed by Tudor Ingersoll of Buzzards Bay and Sam Lorusso of Hyannis.
The Selectmen’s Energy Task Force is also reviewing the proposal and may sent a positive recommendation to selectmen, who oppose New Generation Wind given its location next to subdivisions off Scenic Highway and Bournedale Road..
The turbine proposal has been resubmitted to the Cape Cod Commission, but it will not be reviewed under new turbine regulations promulgated by the regional land-use planning agency.
The proposal, seven turbines measuring 495 feet to the tip of the blades, remains dogged by controversy. The Cape commission has agreed to a New Generation request that a $65,000 re-submittal fee for county review be waived. This does not set well with project opponents.
Moore, meanwhile, says the citizen petition makes the Ingersoll/Lorusso a moot point of sorts should voters in May approve the zoning change and it is upheld by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
“Any zoning bylaw or regulation should be at the very least adaptable in town,” she said. “This may be a legal issue. The citizen petition essentially is saying ‘You can’t meet the criteria.’ But bylaws should be reasonable.
“The citizens are creating a bylaw that says, ‘We don’t want turbines,’’’ she said “Why not just say, ‘Not allowed.”’
Wind-farm opponents say they support alternative-energy efforts by the town, and even harnessing wind for green-energy consumption. But they also say such proposals should not be allowed to adversely impact abutting homes and neighborhoods.
Ingersoll said his wind-farm planning team listens to all complaints about the project and addresses them individually.
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