DENNIS – The battle over a wind turbine near Chapin Memorial Beach is scheduled for a pretrial hearing next month.
Officials from Aquaculture Research Corp., also known as ARC, say that with fuel costs rising, they need a turbine to power their shellfish hatchery now more than ever.
“We have been looking for some way to contain our energy costs for a long time,” Gail Hart, ARC vice president, said. “We have the property. We have the wind. We have the location.”
The wind turbine seems like a logical solution to the organization’s energy woes, she said.
But in September 2010, the appeals board of the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District voted down ARC’s proposal to install a 164-foot-tall turbine on 39 acres of beachfront property.
The decision reversed the approval by the Dennis Old King’s Highway Historic District Commission, which is the town-level arm of the regional historic district.
ARC responded by appealing the decision in court. The case is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Oct. 13 in Orleans, Rosemarie Austin of Dennis said.
“We didn’t feel it belonged in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “We have a problem with it being within 1,600 feet of a neighborhood.”
Over the summer, Save Our Beaches members handed out fliers at bayside beaches, posted signs on their property opposing the project and created an online petition. They plan to present the petition results to Cape legislators and Dennis selectmen.
Save Our Beach members oppose the fact that the town officially has sided with ARC.
The wind turbine would dwarf any other structures in the area, Austin said.
It would be 242 feet high at the top of its spinning blades.
“The tallest thing we have down here is our telephone pole at 40-feet high,” she said.
Proponents of the wind turbine said windmills have a history on the Cape.
“We’re farmers,” Hart said. “We’re not planning on selling this energy. We’ll use it.”