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Falmouth weighs turbine bylaw  

At a separate public meeting at the Gus Canty Community Center Tuesday night, turbine abutters joined the Falmouth Wind Turbine Options Analysis Process in the group's fourth week as a fact-finding entity. The neighbors had previously balked at the process and refused to participate until the blades stop spinning. Abutters changed their minds after a meeting with Town Manager Julian Suso and board of selectmen Chairman Kevin Murphy last week at which Murphy agreed to set aside the board's statement of principles for mitigation options when considering the process' findings, Todd Drummey, an abutter, said in a statement.

Credit:  By Sean Teehan, Cape Cod Times | www.capecodonline.com 20 June 2012 ~~

FALMOUTH – A new sense of cooperation between town boards and displeased turbine abutters seemed prevalent Tuesday night during two separate public meetings.

Nine Falmouth residents spoke at a planning board hearing at town hall, at which board members sought to gain public perspective on a proposed draft bylaw that would place significant restrictions on new turbines in town.

“We want to go ahead (with the bylaw), we don’t want to wait,” said planning board Chairman Ralph Herbst, noting state officials’ unresponsiveness to requests for guidance. The board intends on revising and passing the bylaw in time for a vote at fall town meeting.

As currently written, the bylaw would ban wind turbines that produce more than 200 kilowatts of power, a drastic reduction from Falmouth’s two 1.65-megawatt turbines – known as “Wind 1” and “Wind 2” – at the wastewater treatment plant on Blacksmith Shop Road. One megawatt equals 1,000 kilowatts.

If the bylaw is approved, turbines larger than 200 kilowatts already operating in Falmouth could remain, but developers would be prevented from expanding the amount of electricity they produce.

John Ford, who lives about 4,200 feet from the wastewater treatment facility, told the board that the 200-kilowatt limit may still be too high.

“I would like to see no 200-kilowatt or 100-kilowatt in single residence or agricultural AA homes,” said Ford, whose home falls under agricultural AA zoning.

Falmouth’s current regulations place no limit on electricity production.

The proposed bylaw also stipulates that turbines must power the property on which they are located as a primary service. That would prohibit turbines erected for the purpose of selling electricity to outside entities.

Levi Adams, who referred to himself as “pro-wind,” told the board members they should choose their words more carefully in the bylaw, suggesting it denotes a negative attitude toward wind projects.

“We don’t want to be onlookers when energy businesses start to develop,” Adams said. “The state is making a very significant investment in bringing alternative energy businesses to the state.”

At a separate public meeting at the Gus Canty Community Center Tuesday night, turbine abutters joined the Falmouth Wind Turbine Options Analysis Process in the group’s fourth week as a fact-finding entity. The neighbors had previously balked at the process and refused to participate until the blades stop spinning.

Abutters changed their minds after a meeting with Town Manager Julian Suso and board of selectmen Chairman Kevin Murphy last week at which Murphy agreed to set aside the board’s statement of principles for mitigation options when considering the process’ findings, Todd Drummey, an abutter, said in a statement.

“In the neighbors’ opinion, the Statement of Principles placed severe limits on the options that this group and the Board of Selectmen could consider,” Drummey said in the statement. “We felt we could not sit at the table if all options were not on the table.”

Drummey’s statement also noted that Murphy said selectmen would not consider setting aside their statement of principles if abutters did not participate in Tuesday’s meeting. He said that several abutters remain against participating in talks until the town shuts the turbines off.

Source:  By Sean Teehan, Cape Cod Times | www.capecodonline.com 20 June 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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