Friday, February 13, 2009
Planning Board reviews new wind turbine bylaw
Alternative Energy Committee member Keith Therrien reviewed the proposed new bylaw on Wind Energy Conversion Systems at the board’s Monday evening meeting. The proposed new Section 5.10 would establish standards for locating and using wind turbines in any zoning district by special permit issued by the Board of Appeals.
One section in the draft as presented to the Planning Board was “flagged” by several board members as being troublesome: “Section 126.96.36.199 Setback: The wind turbine tower shall be set back at least one tower height plus one rotor radius from any property line, except that setback may be reduced by the Board of Appeals if the Board of Appeals finds there is no risk to the public safety or welfare and the building inspector recommends such reduction in setback….” As the discussion progressed it became apparent that, although unlikely, this would let the Board of Appeals could permit a tower to be placed right on a property line with no setback, regardless of the concerns of an abutter.
Board member Kent Gonzales questioned the applicability of a lattice-type tower in residential areas, since the board has specifically prohibited lattice towers for wireless facilities as being more visually intrusive than a monopole. Therrien said that the subcommittee wanted to permit only pre-engineered production units and such units are typically lattice construction because of cost. Gonzales asked for a cost comparison of lattice and monopole, which Therrien said he would provide.
A Public Hearing on the proposed bylaw is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. on February 23. ∆
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