CHARLTON – The controversial plans to install three wind turbines on swaths of wooded landscape overlooking town center received site plan approval from the Planning Board tonight.
“I know it was contentious and people thought we had way more authority than we did,” Planning Board Chairman John P. McGrath said after the vote.
Residents and local officials have contested the plans to place two 330-foot turbines 780 feet apart on Overlook Masonic Health Center property behind the library and another about one mile away at Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School.
Both projects have been scrutinized in a series of site plan reviews and public hearings. The hearings on the Overlook proposal closed April 20 and the final hearing for Bay Path was held tonight.
Sustainable Energy Developments of Ontario, N.Y., the company hired to install the projects, demonstrated that the three turbines, individually and combined, meet all requirements governed by the Planning Board.
After the meeting, George Senerth, vice president of project management, said Overlook officials are “still doing due diligence” on the potential wind generators and he could not comment on what is expected to happen next.
The Bay Path turbine will be installed and operated by a third party, and the next step, Superintendent-Director David P. Papagni said, is to seek bids.
The hearings have drawn residents en masse who said they support green energy but not the turbines’ 1,000- to 2,000-foot proximity to homes, recreational fields, the town center and an elementary school.
Throughout the hearings, Mr. McGrath said he personally opposed the plans but the board’s authority was limited to upholding town and state regulations for turbine site design, sound levels and shadow flicker.
Selectmen recently denounced both projects and asked Overlook and Bay Path officials to table their plans.
At a meeting of the Southern Worcester County Regional Vocational School Committee Monday, Mr. Papagni reported the selectmen’s request. He was instructed by the school committee to “stay the course.”
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