FAIRHAVEN – Selectmen did not give their consent last Tuesday, March 27, for a space to be held on the May 5 Town Meeting warrant for changes to the town bylaw on wind turbines.
The Planning Board held a public hearing April 3 to consider stricter setback and height restrictions on wind turbines. (See story beginning on page A1 and continued on this page.)
The board wanted selectmen to hold a space for a warrant article with blanks on height and setbacks to be filled in after getting public input at the April 3 hearing.
Based on a letter from town counsel, Selectman Brian K. Bowcock said the Planning Board did not follow proper procedure by notifying selectmen, who would have had 14 days to respond to the proposal under state law.
Selectmen said the Planning Board also should have specified the exact changes it wants to recommend to the bylaw.
Planning Board Chairman Wayne Hayward did not attend last Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen. At a Planning Board meeting on March 13, he said it was important to get stricter restrictions on turbines now in the bylaw.
As it stands, the bylaw allows a maximum height of 525 feet with the blades attached and a distance equal to the overall height from adjacent properties.
Mr. Hayward said the town should consider doubling or tripling the distance from nearby residences. He said he knows of developers who are chafing at the bit now to build turbines on sites all over town.
Also on March 27, selectmen said they had been in contact with the state Ethics Commission over whether the Zoning Board of Appeals can use town counsel to represent it in a turbine-related issue since town counsel is representing the town in a lawsuit involving the turbines.
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