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University of Guam pauses wind turbine project

At the University of Guam’s request, a height variance for the university’s two proposed wind turbines was removed from Guam Land Use Commission’s agenda at a Thursday meeting.

The university plans on placing two wind turbines – one 100-feet high and the other 70 feet – next to its House 32, an environmentally friendly, retrofitted house that serves as office space for UOG’s Center for Island Sustainability.

But neighbors, fearful of the noise the turbines will generate, have risen up in protest, gathering the signatures of at least 70 for a petition.

“We haven’t changed the project,” said university President Robert Underwood, explaining the delay of the height variance. “We just want to explain the project.”

Department of Land Management Director Monte Mafnas said UOG’s proposal is the first wind turbine project to be presented to the Guam Land Use Commission.

Mafnas said the concerns from neighbors who may be affected by a proposed development do get heard by the commission.

The school must get a height variance to proceed with installing the wind turbines, but Guam law has no regulations for noise, according Pacific Daily files.

UOG officials have said the noise of the taller turbine would be about 52 decibels under normal conditions. That would sound like the humming of an air conditioning unit to a resident 200 feet away, PDN files said.

Underwood said he wanted the chance to explain the project in detail to residents, including technical specifications.

A notice to rezone has been on display since January, and the university already has held public hearings, he said.

When asked whether the university planned on changing the location of the project, Underwood replied: “We’re taking a look at a lot of different options.”

The most important thing now is to address residents’ concerns, he said.

“We thought we would just pull it back, and just have some more conversations with the people who raised their objections,” he said.