May 8, 2011

Controversial Bourne turbine bylaw revision hearing mostly reasonable

By Paul Gately, Bourne Courier, 7 May 2011

The second Bourne Planning Board hearing into Citizens for Responsible Energy’s revised bylaw amendment featured two police officers in the Town Hall hearing room, which filled to overflowing Friday afternoon.

The presentations via PowerPoint were measured, and the audience was mostly respectful of contrary points of view. The planners duly listened to accounts of turbine-related woe in Hull, at MassPort, Falmouth, Wareham and on the Massachusetts Maritime Academy campus at Taylors Point.

The board neither accepted nor rejected the bylaw amendment, which now heads to the Monday night Special Town Meeting warrant at Beth Bourne Auditorium. The session starts at 7:30.

For Concerned Citizens to prevail at town meeting, Moderator Robert Parady will have to accept revisions to their bylaw amendment. The group will also have to secure a two-thirds majority vote. This may come via a secret ballot.

The issue of what to do about turbine proposals has become controversial. A revised bylaw would serve to ban industrial-grade structures in town, such as those proposed by New Generation Wind off Scenic Highway and Route 25 north of the canal.

A new bylaw would also severely limit placement of three community-grade turbines; perhaps to three locations, one being the controversial CanalSide Commons tract above the Bourne rotary.

New Generation proposes the first land-based wind farm in Massachusetts. It is in Cape Cod Commission review; for which hearings are pending. The seven turbines would be situated next to residential areas that Concerned Citizens are trying to protect in terms of safety, noise, annoyance factors and property values.

Town Planner Coreen Moore told Bourne’s elected planners Friday afternoon that the citizen petition, however, includes technical flaws; which must be considered by Moderator Parady, who will guide town meeting debate.

Thomas Gray Curtis of the town’s energy advisory committee said the petition includes a “capricious” specification of setbacks meeting a minimum requirement of 10 times the diameter of turbine rotor blades. “I think any bylaw should be based on a rational scientific basis,” he said.

Tudor Ingersoll, a New Generation principal, said the community soon would have to face the issue of how to harness clean energy. “We have to face up to the fact that we’ll need a clean-energy economy. And right now nobody has a single right answer for that,” he said.

Attorney Christopher Senie, representing Concerned Citizens, said industrial grade turbines produce a greater noise factor than aircraft above residential areas, neighboring highways or nearby railroads.

URL to article: