PLYMOUTH – The 302-foot wind turbine planned for a site off Hedges Pond Road will bloom 2,000 feet from 11 homes and just 1,500 feet from four others.
While that doesn’t seem unreasonable to the project applicant, Brian Kuhn of Associated Wind Developers LLC, it’s too close for comfort for abutters who say the turbine’s noise and unsightliness will wreak havoc with their property values, health and quality of life.
More than 60 abutters and neighbors filled the seats of the Mayflower Room at Town Hall Wednesday night to hear the Zoning Board of Appeal’s decision on the project. The vast majority opposed the project, despite repeated assurances from engineers that it meets the requirements of the town’s wind energy bylaw.
Adam Newall, of 60 Dyer Pass, made an impassioned plea that the ZBA deny the special permit request. Sound measurements conducted at the base of the proposed structure are utterly misleading, he said, since the wind turbine will be located in a depression. He and his wife moved to Cedarville in 2006 and bought a home – the biggest investment of their lives – and it’s not fair that Kuhn’s project will now rob them of their peace of mind and their property’s value, Newall said.
“It saddens me to be here to defend my home,” he added, his voice trembling with emotion. “It’s not the place for it. It’s not Mr. Kuhn’s right to gamble on us.”
Michelle Angelides, of 51 Dyer Pass, noted that the turbine’s spinning blades would decimate bat populations, causing mosquito numbers to increase. In Europe, the required setbacks from residential property have been increased for wind turbines, she noted.
Others added their voices to the protest, including Plymouth physician Dr. John Cowl who cited a study that indicates people living within a mile of a wind turbine can be adversely affected by it.
“We don’t want to create a new pandemic,” he said, noting that wind turbines can disrupt sleep and cause chronic stress, both of which contribute to cardiovascular and other diseases.
“You’re setting up people for chronic anxiety and depression,” Cowl added.
But an Alewife Road resident said he’s 100 percent in favor of the project and it’s time Plymouth embraced this new technology.
And Rev. Bob Stott, who lives in the downtown area, said Plymouth needs to embrace safe, renewable energy like this.
“If I could have a wind turbine in my backyard, I would have it today,” Stott added.
The ZBA plunged into a lengthy, scientific discussion regarding the sound analyses before closing the hearing.
ZBA members Bill Keohan, Michael “Buster” Main, James Simpson and Chairman Peter Conner all said they had to support the project because it meets the standards set forth in the town’s wind energy bylaw.
After studying the possible health impacts of wind turbines, ZBA member Ed Conroy said he concurs with doctors and a recently released state study that determined that wind turbines do not pose a health hazard. However, Conroy said, he doesn’t like the location of the turbine, in a declivity, which will only add to the noise and possible sleep deprivation for its neighbors.
The ZBA voted, 4-1, in favor of granting the special permit. Conroy intimated that it’s likely the project’s opponents will appeal that decision.
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