Hearing on Hedges Pond wind turbine continued; Neighborhood up in arms over plans for 302-foot turbine
PLYMOUTH – A wind turbine proposal designed to generate energy is already generating plenty of heat.
Associated Wind Developers is proposing a 302-foot turbine off Hedges Pond Road that would generate enough energy in one year to fulfill the needs of 254 homes, according to the proponent.
But neighbors who piled into Nathaniel Morton Elementary School last week for the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the turbine say it would be a debacle in their neighborhood. Residents have been particularly distressed about the plan since the Planning Board voted, 3-1, last month to recommend the ZBA approve the required special permits for the project.
Attorney Christopher Senie, of Senie Associates, is representing a number of neighbors urging the ZBA to deny the special permit requests. He asked Atlantic Design Engineers, which conducted an acoustic analysis of the turbine, to complete a 22-page questionnaire.
Treetop Way resident Kieran Kearney delivered a PowerPoint presentation, which he said confirms that the applicant’s engineer grossly misrepresented the facts in the case.
While the engineer contends the closest resident would be subject to 95 seconds of shadow flicker per day, Kearney said numbers taken from the manufacturer of the turbine confirm the shadow flicker would impact that residence for 30 minutes a day. Shadow flicker effect refers to the impact the pulsating shadow of a turbine’s rotating blades has on a home or person.
Hedges Pond Road neighbors who oppose the plan also claim the wind turbine would be an eyesore, destroy their quality of life, drastically reduce property values and create a nuisance and potential hazard. Arguments that wind turbines can’t impact a person’s health are ludicrous, they say, because it’s well known that continual disruption of a person’s sleep and peace of mind can lead to serious physical and mental illness.
Concerns about wind turbines have been in the forefront for this area for some time. This is the second wind turbine project proposed off of Hedges Pond Road.
Jim Sweeney, president of Sustainable New Energy, withdrew his original proposal for two 460-foot wind turbines off Hedges Pond Road last year after opposition to the plan seemed to reach a zenith.
Brian Kuhn, of Associated Wind Developers LLC of Plymouth, stressed that he is not affiliated with Sweeney’s company and that this 302-foot turbine would be manufactured in American – not in China, as most turbines are.
What hasn’t changed is where the turbine would be located. Cranberry grower Jeanine Anderson is the trustee of Jeanine Anderson Realty Trust, which owns the Hedges Pond Road property on which the turbine would be built. But, Kuhn said, his company’s plan sites the turbines further from homes, going above and beyond the state’s criteria. The nearest lot line is 350 feet from the proposed turbine, the nearest property line is 449 feet away, and the nearest residence is 1,052 feet from the turbine, Kuhn added.
Anderson isn’t the only cranberry grower exploring wind energy as a way to maximize the financial return on a parcel of land. Keith Mann, of Future Generation Wind, is proposing wind turbines on his property off Head of the Bay Road in South Plymouth. He says the environment and instability in the cranberry industry fueled his decision. Mann is now grappling with appeals of the ZBA approval of his wind turbines. It remains to be seen if Kuhn’s project will face similar legal challenges.
With so many people anxious to speak out against and in favor of the plan, the ZBA voted to continue the hearing to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, and left the public comment portion of the hearing open.
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