HOLLAND – The Holland Selectmen have signed a letter seeking to slow down the permitting process for two wind turbines proposed for two Derby farm properties.
The wind turbine developer, Encore Redevelopment, is seeking an expedited process of approval on the two towers to be hosted on Derby farms owned by Bryan and Susan Davis and Jonathan and Jayne Chase, Mr. Wonson said. The towers will be visible from portions of the town of Holland.
On Monday night the selectmen received a packet of information relating to the project from the developer’s attorneys Gravel and Shea PC – all 500-plus pages of it. The selectmen also learned that they had until the end of December to digest the information contained within the packet.
“Piece of cake,” Selectman Norm Fortin said while shaking his head.
“Seeing all that paper makes a logger’s heart race,” chairman of the selectmen Brett Farrow admitted.
Mr. Wonson, as chairman of the Holland planning commission, has reviewed the hefty document and expressed concerns about the wind project both as it relates to the town plan as well as to PSB deadlines. Had one selectman decided not to stop in after the holiday concert at the Holland Elementary School, Mr. Wonson might not have gotten the signatures he needed in time.
“I don’t think there’s any way that anyone can digest that much information and formulate a reasonable reply by year’s end,” Mr. Wonson told the selectmen. “I am asking for permission to send a letter asking them to put the brakes on this thing. Give us a chance to read and review it and then make comments.”
Mr. Wonson acknowledged that he is personally opposed to the proposed wind towers. Just as in the wider community, however, there is little consensus about the wind towers even in the planning commission. Its members are torn between those who oppose them, those who support them and all manner of opinions in between, Mr. Wonson said.
“What I am trying to do here is step outside of my own personal feelings and do what is best for the town,” Mr. Wonson said. “It would be better to seek some safeguards now and put in place a plan for remediation now than to wait and see what might happen later on. If all we were talking about is having to look at them, I could turn my head 90 degrees and just look away but there is more to this.”
Mr. Wonson stressed the relevance of studies that suggest adverse health effects caused by the low-frequency sounds emitted by wind turbines. While there is certainly debate in the scientific community about adverse health effects, the plan proposed by Encore Redevelopment does not even attempt to address this issue.
“You can conclude that there are no problems but proving it is another thing,” Mr. Wonson said. “I believe we need a monitoring plan in place so it can be proven conclusively one way or the other. I believe that as a select board and as a town we would be remiss to not at least ask for monitoring and remediation.”
Mr. Fortin asked if anyone had received feedback from residents opposed to the project. Town Clerk Diane Judd said that she has heard from a few people and they “wanted nothing to do with it,” she said.
The selectmen agreed to sign the letter and to appoint Mr. Wonson as the town’s liaison with the PSB on the Derby wind tower matter.
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