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Cape commission to hold final Bourne wind-farm hearing Monday

BOURNE – The Cape Cod Commission will conduct its final hearing into the revised New Generation Wind proposal for four turbines off Scenic Highway and Route 25 Monday night at 5 in the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School cafeteria.

The controversial wind-farm proposal is the first such land-based facility advanced in Massachusetts. The first plan was withdrawn from review in March 2010. It was resubmitted to the Bourne Planning Board and commission, as was a preliminary subdivision plan for the Ingersoll/Lorusso tracts off Scenic Highway.

Commission review to date has focused on environmental aspects of the turbines as well as the community character features.

Town meeting voters in May amended the bylaw governing review of turbines, and the rewritten edition – which precludes industrial grade and most commercial turbines in Bourne – remains in review by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

The wind-farm plan originally included seven turbines. Three have been removed. Four remain, including one about 900 feet from the property line of the Bournedale Elementary School off Scenic Highway.

Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy suggest Turbine No. 5 presents a hazard to the school property, arguing its inadequate 500-foot setback raises issues related to noise, shadow flicker, turbine-blade ice throw, turbine-related fire emergencies and the possible collapse of the structure onto the school access road and building grounds.

The citizen group is comprised mostly of residents from two Buzzards Bay subdivisions that would abut the wind farm and townspeople from Bournedale. The group led the successful effort to amend the town’s turbine bylaw in May. The question remains about whether the wind farm plan, if it passes commission muster and returns to Bourne Planning Board scrutiny, will be reviewed under the original bylaw or the amended version.

Selectmen oppose the plan, saying they reject its location next to residential neighborhoods. Michael Blanton of Monument Beach, the Bourne member on the Cape commission, is sitting on the agency’s sub-committee review of the proposal. He is a realty agent.