DUXBURY – The possible siting of a wind turbine to the east of North Hill Pond could cast a long shadow over the North Hill Golf Course.
That’s the concern of new North Hill Country Club manager Emmett Sheehan, who admitted to being blindsided by a consultant’s announcement of the site as one of three possible locations for a municipal wind turbine on town land behind Town Hall.
“This one truly came out of left field,” he said Tuesday night during a wind turbine informational meeting hosted by the Alternative Energy Committee.
Sustainable Energy Developments Senior Project and Sales Manager Matt Vanderbrook’s presented three possible sites based on its Community Wind Turbine Feasibility Study, including the one next to the golf course in the vicinity of the eighth green and the ninth tee that was the focus of some concern.
Vanderbrook said the preferred site among the three based on multiple factors, including access and topography, is the site near the golf course. With the standard being a minimum of 1,000 feet away, the closest residential property line is 1,400 feet away. The second site closer to the DPW yard is pretty far away from residences, he said, but the third site is closer to residences.
Among the reasons the North Hill site is the preferred site logistically, he said, is that it’s generally flat, it falls within industry standards for setbacks, the need for access improvements would be limited and minimal clearing would be required. About an acre would be needed for the siting of the wind turbine. The downside, he acknowledged, is its proximity to the golf course.
“We believe that wind turbines and recreational activities can co-exist,” he said. “It’s not a fatal flaw at this point.”
He cautioned that the plan he presented for access to the North Hill area site is a minimal development plan, with a more in-depth plan to come for all three sites. He said the cost-benefit analysis that will be done as a next step will factor in community input.
Alternative Energy Committee Chairman Jim Goldenberg said while the North Hill site stands out among the three because it will have less of a quantitative impact, there is an understanding that there could be obstacles to going forward. He also said the committee could reject all three potential locations.
“What we can’t measure is the qualitative impact it has on the golf course next to it,” he said.
Vanderbrook expects to have a final draft of his report completed in August or September and should be ready to present it at another public meeting. He said he would likely recommend a preferred site but would present alternatives, as well. Town Meeting could potentially vote on a location next spring.
Other concerns raised by residents at the meeting included aesthetic impact, environmental impact, noise, shadow flicker and impact on cell phone service. Vanderbrook said among the wind turbines under consideration are 450- and 900-kilowatt wind turbines.
The next meeting of the Alternative Energy Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, July 26, and could be held at the North Hill Country Club. Tuesday night’s meeting was held at the Duxbury Senior Center.
Vanderbrook’s PowerPoint presentation will be available on the Alternative Energy Committee’s website at www.duxburywind.comand the town’s website at www.town.duxbury.ma.us.
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