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Buckland to host informational meeting about wind bylaw

BUCKLAND – The Buckland Planning Board will host a public informational meeting on Thursday, June 12 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall to discuss the board’s small-scale wind energy facility bylaw proposal.

The purpose of this bylaw, says the Board, is “to facilitate the responsible development of the town’s wind energy resources by providing standards for the design, placement, construction, monitoring, modification and removal of small wind energy facilities that address public health and safety, minimize impacts on property values and the scenic, natural and historic resources ofthe town, and provide adequate financial assurances for decommissioning.”

Zoning bylaw changes are also proposed that would prohibit large-scale wind energy facilities in all zoning districts. Copies of the draft bylaw are available at Town Hall.

“The major points of the proposal include an outright ban on large-scale wind energy systems and clear stipulations regarding the use of small scale systems, including setbacks, financial surety in case a windmill needs to be dismantled, and provisions that ensure the protection of wildlife, natural resources, and view shed,” said Planning Board member Michael Hoberman.

In its proposal, the Planning Board defines small-scale as no higher than 120feet/250kw.

“It’s great news that the Buckland Planning Board’s proposed wind by law is saying ‘no’ to large-scale wind. That was certainly the conclusion of the Renewable Energy Advisory Committee,” says resident Janet Sinclair, who sat on that Committee. “But small-scale is usually considered to be under 50kw. A typical house with a 120-foot-tall turbine (the suggested height limit) is about 10kw.To then have the 250kw limit as a definition of small-scale wind seems irrational and kind of arbitrary, and I think makes the bylaw internally inconsistent, at first glance. I wonder if that would eventually become a problem from a legal standpoint.”