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Wind bylaws in the works  

Credit:  By Phil Demers, North Adams Transcript, www.thetranscript.com 14 October 2011 ~~

ADAMS – The Board of Selectman have set a self-imposed deadline of early 2012 to establish bylaws on wind-power projects and present them to the Planning Board.

“There ought to be some bylaws in the community to protect us from outside developers and attempts to build at inappropriate locations,” Selectmen Arthur “Skip” Harrington said, during Wednesday night’s meeting.

A state-recommended model is being used by the Selectmen as a template for the bylaws, and the board’s job moving forward will be to fill in the specifics, according to Harrington. Some of the details include designating locations for wind projects in town and regulating the height of the wind structures that can be built.

The state model is intended to set guidelines for wind power development in Massachusetts cities and towns, and is part of the larger Green Communities Act signed by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2008.

The town is also in the process of making a decision about the Green Communities Act.

A committee has been formed with the purpose of weighing the pros and cons of an attempt to meet state requirements for the distinction, but Harrington says the board cannot afford to wait for the committee regarding the wind bylaws.

Adams Town Administrator John Butler agreed.

“The wind bylaws and the Green Communities designation are mutually exclusive concerns,” he said. “We should continue to pursue the bylaws while Green
Communities is still being considered.”

Local Green Communities include Pittsfield, Williamstown and Lenox.

According to Harrington, the primary stumbling block for Adams regarding the designation is the building “stretch” codes outlined in the legislation. They require higher levels of energy efficiency for new buildings and that the remodeling of residential and commercial buildings meet these standards. The committee is concerned that by the time all town buildings are audited and the necessary refurbishments done, the state and federal money gained by the green designation would already be spent.

But regardless of Green Communities, the state’s report on potential wind power sites – authored as a result of Patrick’s Green Jobs Act of 2008 – includes the town of Adams, and also identifies wind power as the greatest potential source of renewable energy. Selectmen agree that the community has expressed an interest, and by moving forward with wind bylaws, outside developers will effectively be prevented from attempting wind projects in the community without the town’s consent.

Source:  By Phil Demers, North Adams Transcript, www.thetranscript.com 14 October 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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