Dartmouth Select Board Vote Tonight -...

Dartmouth Select Board Vote Tonight -Wind Turbines

Posted in the North Dartmouth Forum

Dennis Mahoney

Greenville, RI

#1 Dec 21, 2009

YOUR VIEW: Dartmouth has no good place on town land for big turbines
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Barry Hurwitz lives in Dartmouth.
December 21, 2009 12:00 AM
Recent hearings in Dartmouth make it clear that the Alternative Energy Committee of the town of Dartmouth is excited about the potential economic benefits of wind turbines. They make a decent argument in favor of having the town get into the new business of being a small utility company, producing its own electricity.
Unfortunately, this new utility company would plant its primary electricity generating facilities in the middle of a rural residential neighborhood, and for one reason: The town happens to own the land in that location.
I know that the chairman of the committee, Dr. Ronald DiPippo, at the selectmen's meeting of Dec. 14, stated that a number of locations had been considered but that the Chase Road property was selected as best.
Dr. DiPippo is a thoughtful and altruistic gentleman who has worked diligently on this project and genuinely believes it would produce a great economic benefit to the town. However, Chase Road was selected because it was the only parcel the town owned large enough to accommodate the massive wind turbines proposed.
The controversy has hinged on the wisdom of installing two turbines of unprecedented size in the United States, apparently, and the opponents have raised issues regarding how close they should be to homes (some say not closer than 1,300 feet); whether there will be stroboscopic flicker irritating homeowners from blades passing in front of the sun; whether there will be nighttime stroboscopic flicker from lights the Federal Aviation Administration may require on top of the turbines to warn airplanes of their location; whether there will be irritating noise or wind gusts or whether there will be airborne microbial contaminants blown from the waste water treatment facility into homes; whether the town should get a second opinion; and so forth.
None of these issues would even need to be raised by opponents if the turbines were to be located in an isolated area of town, far from homes. The problem is that the town of Dartmouth has no such location that it owns. It could acquire such a location by taking it by eminent domain, but the town does not want to take that route.
Even if there were no noise, and no flicker and no safety issues and so forth, there would still be one unalterable fact: that these wind turbines will be taller than the Statue of Liberty and will completely destroy the rural character of a neighborhood and be visible for miles around even at sea, and, it was suggested, might even be used as navigation aids!
If the town does not happen to already own appropriate land far from homes, perhaps the turbines, even if a good economic idea in a perfect world, should not be considered. The question really is whether or not the persons living in the Chase Road / Russells Mills Road neighborhood should be viewed by the Select Board as sacrificial lambs, condemned to spend their lives in the shadows and visual obstruction of gigantic electric generators powered by wind.
All because wind power as an abstract concept may be a good idea, even if the town really has no appropriate place to put it.

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