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Wind farm proponent awaits Shelburne’s next move

SHELBURNE – The man who proposed a 20-megawatt, eight-turbine wind farm for the ridge of Mount Massaemet last year is waiting to see what the town Planning Board does before going forward with a new application – possibly involving smaller windmills.

“We’re on hold, until we see what the Planning Board’s feeling is,” Frederick D. Field said Monday, when reached by telephone. “We’re still kind of mulling over our options.”

When Field came to last Wednesday’s Planning Board meeting, he started to say that his earlier proposal was “too big.”

At that meeting, he had also begun talking about the benefits of a commercial wind facility, including more efficiently produced, local electricity and possible tax benefits to the town. However, he was stopped from going further, because the board was grappling with how to begin work on a comprehensive wind turbine siting bylaw for the town, and what to do about a petition to put articles on the annual town meeting warrant that would essentially ban commercial-scale wind turbines from Shelburne.

“I was trying to say there are other aspects to this,” Field said of the wind farm plan, in a telephone interview. “We’d just like to see if the town would like something like this.”

Field declined to go into more detail about his future plans, other than to say he and others working on the Mount Massaemet Windfarm Inc. proposal are investigating lower-height wind towers, which might have less visual impact. The proposal withdrawn by Field during a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing called for structures that would have been about 469 feet tall, from the ground to the top of the blade.

Field,a Shelburne native who now lives in Brimfield, owns about 81 acres in Shelburne Center, which would be used for part of the wind farm. Land was to be leased from neighbors, in the original proposal.

Field said someone representing the Massaemet wind farm proposal will be attending the Planning Board’s April 10 public hearing, about a citizens’ petition for zoning bylaw revisions that would ban commercial wind turbines from Shelburne, while allowing smaller systems for private use.