KINGSTON – There wasn’t enough support at Town Meeting to keep the limit on shadow flicker from future wind turbines at zero hours’ impact on neighbors and other neighboring uses.
While a simple majority of the voters, 76-72, favored keeping the zero hour limit imposed at Town Meeting in April, a two-thirds majority was required, and the previous decision was reversed.
Green Energy Committee Chairman Mark Beaton, who led the call for reconsideration of the April vote, said allowing the zero flicker limit to stand would mean banning new turbines from Kingston and sending a message to other communities.
He cited previous wind impact studies that he said support his position that flicker does not present a health hazard, although it may be annoying. He said studies also show that turbines don’t negatively impact property value.
“They’re good projects, they’re viable projects, they don’t make people sick,” he said. “You do not lose property value.”
The argument that residents should put up with turbine flicker for the greater good despite it being a nuisance or annoying as Beaton described it didn’t fly with some residents.
Winter Street resident Bradford Randall argued that property value is perception, and studies don’t reflect personal opinion. He said that since the turbines were installed there have been residents sharing stories of how flicker has made their lives miserable, and that even if the regulation can’t help them, it would help others.
“I’m borderline disgusted, disturbed that we’re reconsidering this,” he said. “We know what our neighbors are dealing with, how they feel, how they live every single day when this happens. Let’s not do this to anyone else.”
Country Club Way resident Tim Fontaine said no one else should go through what his and other families go through because of flicker, and that the regulation is the only way to prevent that, especialy considering the different things he hears about whether more turbines are possible.
“I don’t trust that no other turbines could actually go up in this town,” he said.
Planning Board member Susan Boyer said she didn’t see the need to debate the flicker limit because there really were no places for turbines to go.
A moratorium has been placed on new utility-size wind turbines in Kingston through April 15, 2016. The new regulation would have been part of the permitting process for new turbines.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding