In other business, discussion about the wind turbine has been postponed to a later date, which has not yet been announced.
The planning commissioners had begun to consider the turbine’s development plan at their April 18 meeting but decided to hold off on a vote, due to insufficient information. They continued the discussion to the June 6 meeting because the town solicitor would be able to attend, but the development plan was not on the agenda.
Swistak deferred to Town Planner Lisa Bryer to explain the reason for the new postponement. Bryer said the state is issuing guidelines in July about wind turbines, including failure scenarios. Therefore, the decision was made to wait until those guidelines became available.
The Wind Energy Siting Guidelines Advisory Group is developing state guidelines along with the Renewable Energy Siting Partnership at the University of Rhode Island, it was reported previously.
Swistak and Bryer also said the project consultants needed more time to provide data and answer questions, which the planning commissioners raised at their previous meetings. The commissioners have asked for specific numbers about the potential impact on property values. They are also requiring detailed drawings about the electrical-connection plan and more data on the turbine’s height, the length of its blades, the setback distances to surrounding buildings, water tanks and conservation zones.
Additionally, the commissioners want assessments about the white light atop the turbine’s stanchion to indicate whether the glare will interfere with a motorist’s night vision. They also want information about low-frequency noise, including ways to compare the type of noise the turbine will generate to other sounds. They have asked for a comparison of the proposed Taylor Point turbine’s height to other turbines in the area. The panel also has requested safety records and failure rates, plus historical approvals and recommendations, including any action by the Coastal Resources Management Council.
The Planning Commission is reviewing the turbine development plan and will ultimately make a recommendation to the Zoning Board of Review.
Swistak said members of the Planning Commission had gone on a site visit to the Portsmouth High School turbine on May 31. The commissioners did not discuss the site visit, however.
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