STURBRIDGE – An article to add a “wind energy facility” definition to an existing zoning bylaw – and, in turn, prohibit such facilities from any zoning district in town – failed at the Monday night special town meeting at Tantasqua Regional High School.
On Jan. 7, 2013, town voters backed a moratorium on large-scale solar photovoltaic facilities and wind energy systems. However, on Monday night some voters accused the language in the article of “being too broad” and better suited for an annual town meeting vote. It fell short of the two-thirds it needed to pass.
“If I understand this correctly, this is a total prohibition of wind energy in the town of Sturbridge, any zone, anyplace, anywhere?” Town Moderator Michael V. Caplette asked Planning Board Chairman Sandra Gibson-Quigley.
“Yes, it is,” Ms. Gibson-Quigley answered.
“Secondly, this is an amendment to a zoning bylaw,” Mr. Caplette continued. “Our practice, our tradition, generally, is to deal with this at an annual town meeting, as opposed to special town meeting. Is there a reason why we’re doing this at a special?”
“Yes, because a year ago we voted on a yearlong moratorium on wind energy and solar energy,” Ms. Gibson-Quigley said. “We passed a bylaw, at that time, to deal with solar and not the wind. We were charged with coming up with a wind (energy facility) bylaw by this point in time, this year.”
After the meeting, Town Administrator Shaun A. Suhoski said the town doesn’t have any zones in which these types of wind turbines are “technically” allowed.
“Zoning does not reference any of these facilities right now,” Mr. Suhoski said. “There is no zone that allows them.” So, he said, anybody who applied would have a tough case to make.
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