November 27, 2012

Auto dealership to build town’s first wind turbine

By Robert Gates | Nov. 27, 2012 |

Danvers could be getting its first electric-producing wind turbine next summer at a Route 114 car dealership.

The Zoning Board on Monday approved plans to put a turbine on top of the new Kelly Volkswagen dealership at 72-74 Andover St.

While there is nowhere in the Danvers zoning bylaw that regulates wind turbines, attorney Nancy McCann said that the turbine will conform to the sections of the bylaws regulating antenna height.

“It is something that is a growing trend,” she said of the turbine.

The electricity generated from the turbine will power the service area lighting in the building and may also power the site lighting, depending on the bulb fixtures, she said. It will also be used to recharge electric cars, she said. It will not go back into the grid.

The turbine will rise 12 feet above the building and will be a total of 38 feet tall.

Construction of the new dealership began last week. A new car Volkswagen dealership will be constructed at the font of the property and used cars will be sold at the rear.

While solar panels are allowed anywhere in town because it is considered passive electricty generation, Building Inspector Rich Maloney said that the turbine required a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals as a power generator, a use that is not allowed in the zoning district along Route 114.

“I think it is a good place to put it in town,” Maloney said. “We don’t have it anywhere else.”

Bob Pariseau, chairman of the Zoning Board, said he was a little worried that approval of a turbine may be putting to proverbial cart before the horse. But an approved wind turbine project will certainly make it a priority for the town to come up with zoning bylaws for turbines.

“It’s certainly going to force something to get done down the road,” he said.

Maloney said he has received several inquiries about constructing wind turbines in other areas in town.

“This is what I would consider pretty benign,” he said about the Kelly plans, noting it is nowhere comparable to the turbine along Route 1 in Newburyport, for example.

Sal Sachetta of Sachetta Consulting and Construction Management, who is working with the Kelly Automotive Group on the building project, said Kelly can work with the town to help come up with new zoning bylaws for wind turbines.

“We’re the guinea pig here,” he said.

Sachetta said the electricity generated from the turbine would be used mostly to power electric cars.

“That will be the primary use of it,” Sachetta said.

He called the wind turbine a “wind spire.”

Jeff Sauer, a Zoning Board member, said the 1,200 watt turbine is tiny.

“It will be able to charge one car,” he said.

There’s already been a similar turbine installed at Seacoast Volkswagen in New Hampshire, where there’s been a 35 foot tall wind turbine in 2009.

Kelly said he’s had electric charging stations at his Nissan dealership for two years but the opportunity came up to add a wind turbine with the construction of a new dealership building.

No photo or artists rendering was available of the turbine since Kelly said he has not selected the exact model that will be installed. Kelly said he expects it to be operational by June.

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