PROSPECT – The Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday rejected proposed regulations for industrial grade wind turbines in town, citing reasons that included they’re too restrictive.
The commission voted, 5-0, to deny the proposal submitted by seven neighbors for industrial grade wind turbines, those 1 megawatt or smaller. Among those neighbors was Timothy Reilly, president of Save Prospect Corp., a local group that opposed two large wind turbines in town.
Commission members brought the matter to a vote after the commission closed a continued hearing on the regulations Aug. 3.
Don Pomeroy, commission chairman, said he is concerned the regulations seemed to zone wind turbines out of existence, that they’re in conflict with the intent of existing regulations to guide orderly growth in town, and the applicant would not accept any language modifications.
“I think some regulation is required,” Pomeroy said. “I don’t know what that is. I don’t think this is it, and I don’t mean to disrespect you folks who have worked very hard on this.”
The commission noted that currently a permanent structure can’t be greater than 35 feet tall in town, except for a cell tower. Each member listed reasons for denial. They overall agreed with Pomeroy’s comments and added that the regulations as proposed would stop any windmill being built in Prospect and that they could lead to a legal battle.
Alan Havican, commission member, said, “We’re creating a scenario, if we pass this, that nothing could be built under these regulations in the town of Prospect. I don’t think that’s what we’re about.”
Gregory Ploski, commission member, said the town currently has no wording under allowed uses for wind power, which means that eliminates any of that use in town. He said the problem was that there was no give and take from the applicant, and an amicable agreement couldn’t be arrived at.
The proposal covered anything from appearance to siting. According to the proposal, the facilities would be no higher than 200 feet, and would be setback 3,168 feet from the center of the tower to any residential property lines or property lines of various buildings such as schools, hospitals and churches.
“We’re disappointed, very, extremely,” said Calvin Goodwin, of Woodcrest Drive who was among the neighbors to submit the regulations.
Goodwin said he wanted to caution the commission with looking to Hartford for guidance. Just because it comes from those in Hartford doesn’t mean they know. If a wind turbine is 200 feet tall, or 35 feet tall, they make noise, he said.
The state Siting Council is now required to develop regulations for wind turbine projects.
The commission also set a hearing for Sept. 21 to consider placing a one-year moratorium on wind turbine regulations.