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Bourne selectmen approve route for turbines traveling from New Bedford

BOURNE – Selectmen paved the way Wednesday for Future Generation Wind to transport wind turbines on Bourne streets to Plymouth, while the Board of Health continues to question if the small wind farm could create adverse health effects for Bourne neighbors.

The board approved the license to transport the turbine equipment 3-2 during its meeting Wednesday night. Selectmen Michael Blanton and Peter Meier voted against the license approval.

Upon hearing from residents concerned that the company could exceed the scope of the delivery set by the license, Selectman Stephen Mealy, board chairman, said the license could be revoked by the board at any time.

The project’s four turbines will be erected on a cranberry farm in Plymouth, with the entrance to the property off Head of the Bay Road in Bourne. Because of the size of the components, the project requires a convoy-style delivery of about 30 oversized trucks carrying parts as large as 170 feet long and more than 15 feet wide.

The license will allow the turbines to travel from New Bedford through Wareham, down Main Street in Buzzards Bay to Belmont Circle and out to Keith Mann’s cranberry farm on Head of the Bay Road.

According to Will Combs, logistics coordinator of Gamesa Wind, the company hired to transport the equipment, the shuttling of the equipment will occur in late October.

Selectmen, as a condition of delivery approval, are requiring a $1 million bond from the company, which will make it responsible for replacing 80 feet of guardrail that will have to be removed for transport. Fire and police details will also be paid for by the applicant Future Generation Wind, which will need to seek Planning Board approval if trees need to be cut on scenic Head of the Bay Road.

Concurrently, the Board of Health is questioning the impact of the wind farm on some Bourne homeowners whose property would fall within the spinning structure’s flicker shadows. Board members say they have jurisdiction since the blades’ shadows would cross the border from Plymouth to Bourne.

A half-dozen project dissenters spoke against the license approval Wednesday night based on the health implications of the turbines.

Douglas W. Manter, also known as Chief Little Bear, of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Indian Tribe, said the planned route would not only affect the health of a nearby tribal member, but also that the project is close to native sacred sites.

“I ask this matter to be referred to town meeting,” he said.

Selectmen, however, have final say on the license. The Board of Health will discuss the health implications of the project later this month.

Jonathan Fitch, a lawyer with Future Generation Wind, told Board of Health members last week he wanted to be a good neighbor but the turbines do not have to meet Bourne’s regulations since they are located in Plymouth.