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Turbine troubles: Plymouth area residents cry foul over industry moving into their back yards  

Credit:  By Emily Clark | Wicked Local Plymouth | Oct 24, 2012 | www.wickedlocal.com ~~

PLYMOUTH – Pick a wind turbine, any turbine at all, and chances are the project is under attack.

The one at Camelot Park is the exception. But this 364-foot turbine is located nowhere near residential properties, unlike the majority that have been proposed in America’s Hometown.

“We have nine wind turbine proposals in the town of Plymouth,” Director of Planning and Development Lee Hartmann said.

Wind turbines have been pitched as green possibilities at Plymouth North and South High Schools, but the projects fizzled when pushback from the neighborhood intensified.

Wind turbine projects off Hedges Pond Road and Head of the Bay Road have those neighborhoods in an uproar. Both projects were issued the coveted special permit to proceed, but both were appealed.

“The Mann project for three turbines was approved and the appeals were resolved,” Hartmann added. “Those turbines are going up. Neighbors dismissed litigation.”

But a fourth wind turbine pushed by this proponent is still under appeal.

A Scobee Circle turbine was also pitched, but died amid protests from that neighborhood.

Just as objections to a wind turbine project proposed at Plymouth North High School resulted in the plan’s withdrawal so did a plan to site a wind turbine in a junkyard on Columbus Road. This would have been a so-called “squirrel cage” variety but representatives from the nearby radio station argued it would interfere with the signal.

A wind turbine is scheduled to appear some time near the Colony Place Walmart. There’s been no appeal of this project, perhaps because the proponent, Colony Place Development LLC, owns Colony Place and all the buildings therein. But that hasn’t silenced neighbors’ protests to this 302-foot behemoth. Some argue this turbine is mostly for show, primarily since it will become something of an attraction at this open-air mall.

While private property owners continue to propose wind turbines on their property, Plymouth County land is exempt from local zoning restrictions, Hartmann said, leading one to wonder if this land will become a prime target for industrial turbines.

Meanwhile, smaller projects don’t make headlines – like the ones aligned with the town’s Wind Energy Conversion bylaw for wind turbines less than 100-feet tall that don’t connect to the grid.

A Center Hill Road turbine matches this description and has been installed with no fanfare, ostensibly helping one resident lower the electricity bill.

But the outcry against industrial turbines is universal in the region.

Travel north and you find Cohasset, where abutters and a skilled care center appealed the Planning Board’s issuance of a permit for a wind turbine project on conservation land.

In Kingston, Mary O’Donnell’s three turbines near the Independence Mall didn’t receive much attention until they appeared. Neighbors in that town are now appealing the Zoning Board of Appeal’s decision to permit the project. And the Independence turbine is generating plenty of heat as well. Residents just went before Kingston’s Board of Health requesting information on the health impacts of this machine that towers over Route 3 near Exit 8. The Board of Health is demanding the owner of this turbine, Kingston Wind Independence LLC, appear before the board to address these concerns. The turbine is privately owned but located on town land.

Wareham’s Zoning Board Appeals denied a permit for “Bogwind” – a proposal calling for three wind turbines off Charge Pond Road. Board members said they weren’t satisfied that noise and shadow-flicker effect were adequately addressed. Last year, Wareham’s Town Meeting passed a measure to put a stop to all industrial wind turbine projects so boards could study their impact.

Duxbury officials met with a similar response when they discussed placing a turbine on a golf course near Hounds Ditch Lane. Residents retaliated and formed a group called Duxbury Wind Wise to fight the plan, which was withdrawn. The selectmen-appointed Alternative Energy Committee is now focusing on solar projects only.

A 400-foot wind turbine off the Driftway in Scituate has abutters in that community in an uproar with claims it is causing headaches, dizziness and sleep loss. While a state study released this year contests these types of assertions, wind turbine opponents say it’s absurd to discount the overwhelming negative impacts of these behemoths in their back yards.

Boston and Quincy discussed the possibility of siting a wind turbine on Moon Island, which is owned by Boston and located in Quincy. But public outcry prompted Mayor Mennino to take that project off the table.

Plymouth residents outraged by the proliferation of industrial wind turbine projects in residential neighborhoods petitioned the town to place a two-year moratorium on these plans. Town Meeting narrowly denied that request – just three votes shy of the two-thirds it needed to implement the freeze. The closeness of the vote highlights a growing feeling of disgust or at least distrust.

Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, and town officials in the region are lining up behind residents who say these structures do not belong near homes. Claims that wind turbines don’t pose a hazard to health are running smack into claims that they’re destroying health, happiness, home values, views and impossible to quantify quality of life – known as peace of mind.

There is no question that the South Shore’s wind energy industry is struggling to find purchase in ever more hostile territory.

Source:  By Emily Clark | Wicked Local Plymouth | Oct 24, 2012 | www.wickedlocal.com

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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