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Brewster petition seeks Cape Commission wind review

BREWSTER – As a warm breeze blew through the Barnstable Assembly of Delegates’ annual meeting at the Nauset Beach Gazebo Wednesday afternoon, Mitch Relin, president of Brewster Citizens for Responsible Energy presented a petition requesting a full critical review of the Brewster wind project.

The town and Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative have proposed two, 410-foot turbines for property near the water department just off Freemans Way. Those plans, stalled by the town planning board, are headed before the state Department of Public Utilities that could overrule the local board.

Relin would like the AOD to recommend that the Cape Cod Commissioners, who were in the audience Wednesday afternoon, refer the project as a discretionary review to the Cape Cod Commission as a Development of Regional Impact. The Commission recently devised rules for reviewing all wind projects of regional impact but Brewster’s project is grandfathered in. The rules, adopted in April, require a setback of 10 times the height of the turbine – unless minimal noise impact is proved – which Brewster would have to do since their turbines are within 2,000 feet of the nearest neighbor.

“In April the Assembly approved the Cape Cod Commission’s minimal performance standards to review and regulate the impact over multiple municipalities,” Relin explained. “This project fits that situation.”

It sits near the border of Harwich and Orleans.

“At 410-feet it is clearly an example of what the DRI is all about,” he added. “They (CVEC) are going to the state Department of Public Utilities to ask for an exemption to any and all local permitting and if they are successful the future is dim for any other project that has DRI implications.”

He said 50 Brewster residents signed the petition over a single weekend. The Assembly of Delegates can only recommend the commissioners ask for a discretionary referral for review and their chairman Rob Bergstrom promised a decision at the next meeting on Aug. 31 at Barnstable County Courthouse.

“The Cape is a special place for those of us living here,” Relin said afterwards. “I would not like to put it into the hands of the state to make decisions on larger impact projects without an appropriate voice from local people.”