May 13, 2011

Filing may exempt Bournedale project from new bylaw

By: Diana T. Barth, The Enterprise, 12 May 2011

Will the Town Meeting-approved changes to the town’s wind turbine bylaw apply to the New Generation Wind project, the proposal to site seven large wind turbines on more than 400 acres in Bournedale that is currently before the Cape Cod Commission?

Most of the people who backed the changes at Monday’s meeting left the auditorium feeling assured that the answer to this question is “yes.”

But not everyone, including town officials, are so sure.

On Friday of last week, New Generation Wind filed a preliminary subdivision plan with the Bourne Planning Board, one governing the roads and the combination of lots under various ownership on which the proposed wind turbines will stand.

Planning board Chairman Christopher J. Farrell told those attending Monday’s Town Meeting that it appeared that, in the wake of that filing, New Generation Wind could be reviewed under the wind turbine bylaw as it existed before the Town Meeting vote.

That statement, made in the midst of debate, caused no stir; many of the proponents of the bylaw changes had already visited that issue with their counsel.

Town Counsel Robert S. Troy has said Massachusetts law states that if a preliminary plan is followed within seven months by a definitive plan, the land governed by that plan has up to eight years of protection and its review falls under the bylaw in place when the preliminary plan was filed. That would mean, Mr. Troy said after Town Meeting, that the old, unchanged bylaw would apply to the Bournedale project, “if other legal requirements related to a definitive plan were satisfied.”

Attorney Christopher Senie, who helped to write the bylaw changes and shepherd them through the process, said it is his firm’s legal opinion that the project will be reviewed under the bylaw as it was changed by Monday’s vote.

If the attorneys continue to disagree, that matter may end up in court.

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