DUBLIN – Despite being supportive of alternative energy as a whole, many town officials and residents are still opposed to wind projects in town.
The Dublin Planning Board met Thursday to discuss an alternative energy zoning ordinance, one the board voted to add to the ballot in March after altering the original proposal. The new ordinance, if passed, gives approval to all projects providing residential power and requires a minor site plan review for business and commercial applications. Commercial wind farms will not be permitted in any district under the new ordinance.
“I think there is a good consensus in town about solar and geothermal,” said board chair Bruce Simpson. “But the jury still seems to be out on wind power.”
Despite being in favor of more solar projects in town, many of the members of the public that showed up to the hearing were against the idea of opening the door to more wind projects in town, as they can be unsightly to residents and passersby.
“I don’t find them offensive in Leominster, but I don’t think the people that live near wind turbines are in support of them,” said Peter Moran, who said he didn’t think wind projects should be allowed in any district in town.
The board discussed three other ordinances, voting upon two of them favorably.
The board debated the process applicants go through during a subdivision of land, with two ordinances addressing the topic. An ordinance giving the applicant a choice to chose between a conservation and conventional subdivision was approved for Town Meeting, while an ordinance requiring a noticed public hearing when an applicant wanted to proceed with a conventional subdivision was shot down.
The article that was passed received much debate among board members, with John Morris arguing that the change would be “gutting” the intention of requiring a conservation subdivision – which requires portions of the subdivided land to be placed into conservation – early on. Morris said that the change would also create a loophole for someone to subdivide land multiple times.
Board members in opposition said that requirements for frontage on existing roads make serial subdivisions unlikely. Board member Steve Baldwin disagreed, saying that landowners should have options. “I don’t think we should be telling people what they have to do with their land,” said Baldwin. “I want people in town to have the right to chose how they can subdivide their land, when they chose to do so.”
The board also approved an ordinance change, removing the no more than 25 percent restriction in the town’s ordinance regarding primary and accessory living units. Should the ordinance change pass, the only requirement would be that the accessory unit is at least 300 square feet.
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