A two-year controversy over wind power in Greenwood concluded in August with a vote to approve amendments to town ordinance that effectively banned wind farms through a new tower height restriction.
The Calpine Corporation had hoped to build a 13-turbine Long Mountain Wind Farm near the area of Long, Tibbetts and Elwell mountains. In the previous ordinance, tower height limits were not listed. Greenwood’s Ordinance Review Committee suggested limiting heights to 250 feet. Calpine said that the height of the towers had to exceed 500 feet to make the project viable.
The amendments also reduced setbacks from non-participating property lines and lower the maximum decibels of noise produced by the turbines.
Impacts on property values and scenic views were cited by property owners as some of the main issues the wind farm would have created. Other problems included noise complaints and effects on wildlife and human health.
Calpine had said the wind farm would have created average net property tax revenues of more than $423,000 a year, and would provide community payments to the town of around $7,700 per year per turbine. The company had said it would also donate funds to community organizations.
The town’s Ordinance Review Committee put in months of work researching the amendments the panel ultimately proposed.
In a letter mailed to Greenwood residents shortly before the vote, the Bethel Area Business Association laid out its reasons for opposing the amendments, under the theme that they would be too restrictive, and that the town would benefit from the added revenue generated by the project.
But those arguments did not convince the majority, and the ordinance amendments passed easily, 206-41.
“It’s great for the small town of Greenwood because it shows that corporate America cannot push little towns around as much as they think they can,” Greenwood resident Norm Milliard said after the vote.
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