SHELBURNE FALLS – A day before a public hearing on a bylaw proposal that would ban commercial wind farms in Shelburne, a dozen supporters of that proposal gathered on the Buckland side of the Bridge of Flowers to explain why they hope Shelburne voters will support the ban.
“We think this petition is pretty straight forward,” said David Patrick of Shelburne Center, one of the organizers of a petition signed by 46 Shelburne residents to ban wind farms, coal-burning plants and nuclear power plants from town.
“I think it’s important; this is an issue that concerns the whole town (Shelburne) and both sides of the river,” he said, referring to Buckland residents who live in Shelburne Falls. “Those of us who have taken the time to do the research on it have become convinced that large industrial wind turbines are a bad idea. It seems to be that, once the towers get somewhere above 125 feet high, the whole dynamic of operation changes.” Patrick cited the health complaints reported in Falmouth that appeared to have been a result of a large turbine located close to homes there.
“All that stuff explodes exponentially, when the towers get larger. That’s why we were careful to distinguish between the large commercial towers and smaller ones (for private use): What we wanted to do was to send a clear signal that we are not opposed to wind turbines, but we are opposed to industrial wind turbines.”
The news conference was organized by Lamia Holland and Janet Sinclair of Buckland. When asked why, as Buckland residents, they were getting involved in a Shelburne planning issue, Holland said she and other Buckland residents within the village of Shelburne Falls have as much at stake as the Shelburne residents, although they don’t vote in Shelburne and weren’t able to sign the petition for a ban in Shelburne.
“There’s not a town named ‘Shelburne Falls,’ but there’s so much that the village does that includes both towns (Buckland and Shelburne),” said Holland. “But when it comes to something like this – we have a direct view of that mountain,” she said, pointing to Mount Massaemet, where a wind farm is proposed to be built, about 1½ miles from her home.
“I’m really sick of talking about wind turbines,” she added. “I really want a bylaw that fully bans industrial turbines. I don’t want to wait another year to see what’s going to happen.”
The public hearing on the commercial wind turbine ban in Shelburne takes place today at 7 p.m. in Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School.
Holland’s remark about “waiting another year” referred to the Shelburne Planning Board’s proposal for a yearlong moratorium on wind turbines, to give the board time to develop a wind turbine siting bylaw for Shelburne, for both residential and commercialscale turbines.
However, before they voted in favor of a moratorium, a new proposal was submitted by Frederick “Don” Field of Mount Massaemet Windfarm Inc. for a 6-megawatt, four-turbine wind facility on the mountain, east of the Shelburne State Forest.
Patrick has said the group has spent at least 1,000 hours researching wind turbines and has invited several experts on wind and solar power – as well as people living near such facilities – to speak in Memorial Hall.