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Residents say they were ‘blown off’ by the Wind Committee

Residents say they have shown up for meetings that were posted on the town’s site for the Wind Committee that they say never took place. Erected in 2009, the Committee was formed spefically to study the feasibility of putting a wind turbine in town.

Laura Barsamian, one of the owners of Trombetta’s, said she came home early from vacation on June 16 to attend a Wind Committee meeting she saw posted on the town’s website.

“Instead of a meeting,” she said, “there was a note posted on the entrance door to Town Hall stating that the meeting had been cancelled. The next meeting was scheduled for Oct. 17. No cancellation notice and no meeting. Four Northborough residents waiting around in the hall, once again blown off by the Wind Commitee.”

Bob Giles, chairman for the Wind Committee, said it followed town rules and notified the clerk’s office “well in advance” when the meetings were canceled. A feasibility study report from the wind turbine project is needed before another meeting is scheduled, he said.

“The Wind Committee has not met since July as they have been waiting for the results of the data gathered from the MET tower as well,” said Giles. “The committee did cancel their meetings by notifying the Town Clerk, but it appears there are two places the info is listed, once under the calendar (which does reflect the meeting was canceled) and another under minutes and agendas (which does not indicate the meeting was canceled), so depending on where you were looking it may have appeared there was a meeting. I have spoken with the Town Clerk’s office and they are going to try and make it more clear when a meeting is canceled.”

Any data that concerns the town, he said, will be posted on the town’s website “when it is received in its final form.”

“It’s certainly been frustrating trying to get open and honest answers from town engineering regarding the turbine project,” said Jonathan West, whose property abuts a proposed site for the wind turbine. “This makes it difficult to voice opposition to the project, especially since there are no meetings to discuss the project, let alone a public hearing as to whether the project should even exist.”

Both West and Barsamian oppose erecting a turbine in Northborough, particularly if using taxpayer dollars. West has been particularly vocal about his opposition.

“I’m speculating that town engineering is stalling on the results of the wind feasibility study because the use of agriculture-restricted farmlands requires a legislative change—and perhaps that is tied to Sen. [Harriette] Chandler’s bill,” said West. “After all, how could the town complete the study and propose the farmland site while it is currently not a legal use of the land? The Wind Committee has had meetings with Sen. Chandler on this issue. The bill seems to allow municipalities the authority to use agricultural protected land for the purposes of erecting wind turbines.”

West said he had written a number of letters of concern to selectmen in town as well as the engineering department, but hadn’t received a response. Barsamian has been interested in attending a meeting to voice her concerns over the proposed turbine as well.

“At first I thought the proposed turbine would be both great and green,” said Barsamian, “until I started reading comments and watching YouTube videos posted on Patch by educated Northorough residents. I now know that the proposed turbine is not green, will never pay for itself, lowers property values and has negative health impacts.”

The Wind Committee’s meetings and agendas can be found here.

There are no listings for upcoming meetings.