The Massachusetts Audubon Society has decided to rethink its strategy for raising a wind turbine at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Route 6 after hearing many concerns from townspeople about the plans, sanctuary director Robert Prescott said Wednesday.
The Audubon Society has requested that a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the proposed wind turbine that had been scheduled for today be postponed until Nov. 21, according to town records. The society will likely request that the Nov. 21 hearing be continued as well, to allow sanctuary staff to figure out the best way to move forward, Prescott said. The sanctuary is at 291 Route 6.
In mid-June the Audubon Society applied for two variances to the town’s zoning bylaws for the installation of a Gaia-Wind 133 wind turbine that would be placed on a 120-foot monopole tower, according to town records. The turbine has two blades and is typically used on farms or by small businesses or community projects. The society was seeking permission for the turbine as part of its commitment to use more renewable energy systems and conserve more energy. The variances requested were for tower height and diameter of the rotor.
The tight timetable for the project and the request for zoning variances seemed to have raised concerns, Prescott said.
The sanctuary will not erect a wind turbine if townspeople truly don’t want it, Prescott said. But the proposal is no different from a half-dozen smaller turbines that already exist in several neighboring towns, he said. More public outreach is needed, he added.
“It’s not the project,” Prescott said. “It’s really the process.”
The Audubon Society also postponed a related hearing that had been scheduled for Sept. 16 before a regulatory committee of the Cape Cod Commission, according to commission Chief Regulatory Officer Jonathon Idman.
“As it stands now, there’s nothing before the Cape Cod Commission,” Idman said.
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