Following years of discussion, and after voting it down once, the town board on April 26 passed the wind law proposed by the Hopkinton Wind Advisory Board.
The law passed 4-0 at a special meeting with Sue Wood, town supervisor, and councilmembers Kelly Pullano, Sue Lyon and Steve Parker voting in favor, and Gilbert Sochia not voting.
Sochia claimed recently that he planned to vote and had spoken to lawyers who told him he could vote. Sochia vowed to vote weeks ago, but did not choose to do so when the time came. He has been abstaining due to a conflict of interest because his father has a lease with the wind company. Sochia did not attend the meeting as he is on vacation, Wood said.
Parker and Lyon approved the law just 10 days after they both voted down the same exact law. Lyon had stated she needed more time and wanted to meet with the company, town lawyers and other councilmembers to continue discussions.
The law will now be filed with the state, Wood said.
“The board is open to meeting with Avangrid to discuss the next steps; I have tasked Susan Lyon and Steve Parker to arrange this,” Wood said.
Avangrid, a wind power company, plans to build 27 turbines on land in Hopkinton. They claim it would bring roughly $30 million to the area.
The law calls for a setback requirement of five times the total height of a turbine from non-participating property lines, public roads, wind overlay boundary, non-WECS building, farm or commercial structures or any above-ground utilities, registered historical sites and the APA boundary.
The local law requires adherence to a maximum 40 dBA at the nearest non-participating property line, school, hospital, place of worship or building existing at the time of the application.
The law also prohibits turbines on land south of SH 72.
Avangrid has said that it cannot go through with project if the law passes as is, because it is too restrictive.
The meeting for the revote was uneventful as no public comment was allowed. Ten days prior the crowd erupted when two council members voted no on the law. Lyon had stated at a work session a couple weeks before that she would approve that law.
She changed her mind April 16, and changed it again April 26 to a yes vote.
It was not clear why Steve Parker is now supporting the law, the councilman and fire chief has been openly against the law, citing that it was too restrictive to Avangrid’s plans for a wind farm in the rural town.
Avangrid’s lawyer emailed council members claiming that the town needed to hold a public forum prior to another vote.
“Upon receiving the letter from Avangrid’s attorney, our town attorney was consulted,” Wood said. “Since no changes were made to the local law since the public hearing and the cases they referred to were not similar to our situation, he advised me to proceed with the meeting.”
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