Judge Brian Merrick’s decision overturning the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Commission, and allowing construction of a 240-foot wind turbine on Chase Garden Creek overlooking Chapin Beach, has implications far greater than the failing business it buoys.
Finding that the Dennis Historical Commission acted reasonably and within the requirements of the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Act, the judge all but eviscerated any future challenges to wind turbine projects, by elevating the consideration of the energy benefits of any wind project required by the OKH Act above all other factors, including appropriateness of location or impact on neighboring towns.
In the judge’s words, “every single wind turbine project advances the cause of minimizing climate change and the resulting impacts.” Although acknowledging that the turbine’s proposed location is “incongruous,” the judge
upheld the right of the Dennis committee to approve the turbine to enable Aquacultural Research Corp. to meet its energy needs, and denied the regional committee any authority to interpose the regional policy concerns selectively ignored by the Dennis Committee.
Although future wind turbine applicants will probably not garner the sympathy elicited by ARC, their lawyers will make good use of this precedent in challenging any attempts to argue inappropriateness of location.
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