May 15, 2011

Boards at odds over wind turbines

by Gus Steeves, Southbridge Evening News,

CHARLTON – The Board of Health put a big stop sign in the way of the two wind turbine projects last Tuesday when it unanimously voted to require all turbines to be at least 2,500 feet from the nearest residence.

But the Planning Board gave the same projects site plan approval the next day, noting they hadn’t received any notice and such rules don’t affect their process.

Health Chairman Nelson Burlingame said they were acting under Chapter 111, sections 31 and 122 of state law, noting the distance might increase “as more information comes in.”

The two current proposals – two turbines at Overlook and one at Bay Path – are each about 2,000 feet from the nearest house.

The board opted not to set noise restrictions at present, although Agent James Philbrook said they could do so under state nuisance statutes. Even with that, he noted the board “needs to act now,” because trying to enforce a change afterward would be almost impossible.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow’s Southbridge Evening News.

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