Bourne Amends Wind Turbine Bylaws

Power outage doesn't alter landslide vote against future turbines in Bourne

In a bizarre town meeting that featured a power outage at a critical stage, the town of Bourne voted to amend the wind turbine bylaws in town.

The final vote was a landsliding 359-13. The vote pretty much ends any chance of additional wind turbine development in Bourne, at least on an industrial scale.

A car crash on Sandwich Road took out the power to the auditorium at Bourne High School, where the meeting was being held. Darkness reigned for 40 minutes. This possible sign from God didn't change the final tally much, although the 600 voters who showed up at the start of the meeting was whittled down to 372 when the vote went down.

The meeting was rowdy, and town moderator Robert Parady had to threaten residents with removal by the police to keep order. The meeting was recessed when the power failed, but was kicked back off when the lights came on. The 600 voters who showed up were a large departure from the usual 50-100 one sees at Bourne town meetings.

The amendment covers noise, flicker, and siting requirements on anyone who wishes to place industrial wind turbines in Bourne. Any new turbine in Bourne will have to be set back 10 times the rotor blades diameter. This is about 3000 feet (10 football fields) with current wind turbine designs. There are also heavy restrictions set on noise and flicker, which are huge issues with people who currently live near other land-based wind turbines.

Bourne energy committee member Thomas Gray Curtis went public in stating that the new guidelines were "arbitrary and capricious," but he was just one vote in nearly 400 on the matter. The people of Bourne want nothing to do with wind turbines in town.

A proposed turbine project in Bournedale, headed by New Generation Wind, will benefit from a grandfather clause that allows them to operate by the pre-amendment guidelines. They are aiming to sink 7 turbines into the hills just over the bridges, in an area abutting Route 25 and some sand/gravel pits. For instance, NG only has to situate their turbines 500 feet from any houses, as opposed to the 3000 or so required under the new laws.

Bourne is not the only Cape town resisting wind turbines. Falmouth recently imposed a one year moratorium on wind turbine development. Dennis, Brewster, Orleans and Wellfleet have also put the whammy on wind turbine development within their borders. Readers of this virtual newspaper may also be aware of some controversy regarding the offshore Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound.

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