MILTON – A Superior Court judge has thrown out a request by the operators of the Granite Links Golf Club at Quarry Hills to stop the town from building a wind turbine on town-owned land near the private golf course.
Instead, Judge Barbara A. Dortch-Okara ordered the town and Quarry Hills Associates to enter binding arbitration to resolve their differences over the municipal turbine project.
The golf club, which leases its property from the towns of Milton and Quincy, sued Milton in January in Norfolk Superior Court to stop the turbine. The suit also names D&C Construction Co. of Rockland, the company awarded the contract to build the turbine.
The $6.1 million project has been in the works for several years, winning Milton Town Meeting approvals in both 2009 and 2010.
In its lawsuit, Quarry Hills Associates said the turbine was approved with illegal “spot zoning’’ and would cause the golf course “irreparable harm’’ from noise and visual pollution. The golf club asked for both preliminary and permanent injunctions to stop the project.
In her June 10 decision, Dortch-Okara denied the preliminary injunction and dismissed the claims of spot zoning and irreparable harm. However, she ordered the two parties to enter binding arbitration to resolve the dispute. She said the 50-year-lease between the golf club and the towns contained an arbitration provision.
Jeffery A. Tocchio, a Hingham attorney who filed the lawsuit for the golf club, said Quarry Hills Associates was “pleased’’ with the decision and hoped the arbitration would find that the turbine violated the lease’s provisions allowing Quarry Hill to “peaceably operate a first-class golf course.’’
Town officials reacted to the ruling with guarded satisfaction.
“We got our decision and we’re moving forward,’’ said William Clark, the town’s planning director. “My lay reading is that I’m happy [with the decision], but now I have to converse with my friends at town counsel and find out what they have to say.’’
The latest plan calls for building a turbine 407 feet tall, which will generate enough electricity to cut the annual municipal electricity bill about in half, he said. That translates to a $700,000 to $800,000 savings, he said.
Clark said that the town is still ironing out design details and that actual construction on the turbine only can take place from October through April, a condition imposed by the state to protect snakes in the area.
Granite Links Golf Club straddles the Milton-Quincy line, on land once occupied by granite quarries and the old Milton landfill, with fill imported from Boston’s Big Dig.
Quarry Hills agreed to pay $13 million to cap the landfill in 1998, pay rent, and contribute $300,000 toward new Milton town athletic fields as part of its lease arrangement.
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