The Concerned Citizens for Responsible Energy’s effort to amend the town’s zoning bylaw governing review of turbines is headed to a Monday night Special Town Meeting.
The Bourne Planning Board after a two-hour public meeting on Friday afternoon voted to neither approve nor reject the citizen group’s turbine-bylaw amendment, a move that sends the petition to the Monday warrant. Planners said the matter of how to accommodate industrial-grade turbines in town warrants further study.
Town Counsel Robert Troy advised the planners that Moderator Robert Parady will allow three revisions to the proposed bylaw amendment, saying they are “not substantive in nature. The moderator, however, is wary about being put in a position where town meeting would be writing the (revised) bylaw.”
The citizen group, comprised of Buzzards Bay and Bournedale residents, seeks to block a controversial proposal by New Generation Wind to build seven 495-foot high turbines on private land north of the canal off Route 25 and Scenic Highway.
Town Planner Coreen Moore said Friday hearing the bylaw amendment is “technically flawed” to an extent that – if approved by voters – it would preclude industrial grade turbines being placed anywhere in Bourne. She also said smaller community-grade turbines would be isolated to three viable locations.
Planning board review or the lack of it aside, the issue falls to town meeting voters. Troy said after the hearing that all sides had presented “reasonable viewpoint” about how a town with so much wind should harness alternative energy – and where.
Selectmen Chairman John Ford, following the hearing, said the need to win a two-thirds vote at town meeting represents a “reasonable” but not insurmountable issue.
New Generation Wind’s plan represents the first land-based wind-farm proposal in Massachusetts. It is before the Cape Cod Commission where hearings are pending.
Attorney Diane Tillotson, representing New Generation, said Friday it is “bad planning policy” to adopt a zoning bylaw revision “to block one project.”
David Peterson of Cape Cod Aggregates, on whose land a New Generation turbine would be situated, said this project conforms with zoning and is going through the appropriate review process. He said opponents live in a subdivision that sidestepped zoning review. “Town bylaws have to be written to protect on both sides of the property line,” he said.
Attorney Christopher Senie, representing Concerned Citizens, had the opposing view. “Bringing Texas Panhandle style turbines into a residential neighborhood 900 feet away is not necessarily a good piece of a sensible or sustainable (alternative) energy plan.”
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