NEWS

Harwich neighbors oppose wind project

Jamie Balliett

About a dozen residents living near a proposed municipal wind turbine project turned up at the board of selectmen’s meeting Monday night to voice their dismay.

The project “seems like something that was put under the radar,” said Sheila Bowen of West Tupelo Drive. The town plans to erect two 400-foot wind turbines on town land in West Harwich.

A special town meeting recently authorized further planning for the project.

“I would like to know why we were not notified of this project,” Bowen said.

Selectman Larry Cole said a notification of individual property owners does not come until further along in the process, when the planning board takes up the proposal.

“Clearly, before a bylaw change is proposed at town meeting and recommended by the planning board, they held public meetings on the bylaw,” Cole said to Bowen.

The explanation gave Bowen little pause.

“I think you are betraying a trust. I am very concerned and do hope that we have a chance to voice our objections,” she said.

Selectmen Chairman Ed McManus said, “We have talked about these specific sites since last spring. We clearly haven’t done anything under the table.”

Cole added that the Utility and Energy Conservation Commission plans an outreach to neighborhoods around this project.

Noreen Donahue of West Tupelo Road, took aim at the numbers the feasibility study presented.

“I feel that the $7.5 million in savings is overestimated and speculative,” she said. “I don’t believe the residents know the true impacts. And we’re relying on this board to protect us from harm."

Richard Toma from 63 West Tupelo admitted that he hadn’t been paying enough attention to the issue – until now.

“But being an abutter, I’m very close to it,” Toma said. “I’m 950 feet away from the center of the turbine.”

“I’m a very large proponent in going green. But also we need to be responsible,” he said. 

McManus said a detailed proposal would still need to be developed, which will lead to detailed study of the project.

Harwich Oracle