Mass. Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary will request that the Wellfleet Zoning Board of Appeals, when it meets on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the senior center, allow Mass. Audubon to withdraw without prejudice its request for a special permit to install a wind turbine at the sanctuary.
Formal notice of the request was e-mailed to Christine Bates, the board’s secretary, on Tuesday morning, by Michael D. Ford, the lawyer who filed the application for Mass Audubon. This official word came after a reporter informed Bates that the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary webpage had posted, on Oct. 7, that the request for withdrawal without prejudice had already been filed.
“Wellfleet Bay has requested to withdraw without prejudice its request to the Wellfleet Zoning Board of Appeals for a special permit to install a small wind turbine at the sanctuary,” the webpage states.
“The request was made, in part, to give local planning officials more time to consider whether zoning bylaws should be updated to specifically cover wind energy installations,” it states.
“The request to withdraw our application for a special permit does not mean we’ve abandoned our plan for a turbine,” adds Bob Prescott, sanctuary director, in the statement. He continues, “The sanctuary will still have the right to return to the zoning board in the future,” and notes, “We are not the first to seek approval of a wind turbine in Wellfleet and there will certainly be many more requests to come as small businesses and homeowners seek to take advantage of green energy solutions. We want to work with the town as it considers this larger planning question.”
He said withdrawing the request for a special permit and postponing review by the Cape Cod Commission will also give Mass. Audubon more time to receive and reflect on community comments about the proposed turbine as well as to continue ongoing environmental impact studies.
Bates, by e-mail, told Ford, that the ZBA will discuss “the rebate” at the Nov. 21 hearing. She also told Ford that she noticed on the Mass Audubon newsletter on the Internet that “the formal statement has come from Prescott.”
Prescott could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Lilli-Ann Green, a member of the Wellfleet energy committee who has been studying the impacts of wind turbines on the public for several years, has sent Prescott several letters in recent months asking him to comment on her information that Mass. Audubon headquarters in Lincoln has told him that “they really want this turbine,” and that the headquarters in Lincoln has asked him to “change our Wellfleet zoning bylaws.”
Reached Tuesday, Green said, “Who is putting pressure on Bob to get this wind turbine in Wellfleet? I’ve written him two letters and he has not responded to them.”
Green said Prescott has been quoted saying that if the people of Wellfleet don’t want the wind turbine, he will withdraw the proposal. “There have been close to 100 letters expressing that they do not want the wind turbine and many more people have signed a petition calling on Prescott to withdraw the turbine proposal,” she said. “There are people who live in at least five developments near the sanctuary who are very upset and do not want the turbine,” she said.
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