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Large Wind Turbine Bylaw Review Committee Minutes 3/4/13

BECKET Large Wind Sub-Comm. Minutes 3/4/2013
Meeting came to order at 9:10am.
Attendees:  Committee members Bob Gross, Al Blake, Maria Wallington, Bill Girard, Ann Krawet, Bob Ronzio (briefly). Observer Mr. Neil Toomey.
Minutes of Meeting on 2/11/13 were modified and then approved unanimously.
Mr. Ronzio advised that the Planning Board had approved our request for legal advice from our town attorney regarding overly restrictive provisions or a prohibitive Bylaw and that he would contact him forthwith with the newly worded question constructed by the committee. The committee discussed the feasibility of a one mile setback requirement in place of the ½ mile requirement in the present Bylaw. Mr. Girard advised that a one mile setback requirement would preclude every location in Becket except the State forestland located in Becket and that the ½ mile setback allows erection of a large wind turbine in several locations: Palmer Brook Club property, and the Town of Chester reservoir/watershed land in the vicinity of Capt. Whitney Rd and Bancroft Rd.  Members continued to discuss information gathered from studies/articles concerning turbine setback distances and health impacts. A 12/09 Study found by Mr. Blake was among the studies reviewed. Ms. Wallington posited that the health issue should be related to the quality of the sound, not just the decibel level.  Mr. Gross stated that the different components of sound (e.g. pulsation, rhythm) are difficult to measure and we may be left with just picking an arbitrary distance. All agreed to continue researching to see if this aspect has been addressed in studies and if there is information about the effect/impact on people. All agreed that the present 5dB standard in our Bylaw is appropriate. Mr. Girard suggested we must prove to the town why distance matters for sound, vibration, pulsation impacts upon people when measured at different distances.   It was agreed that the search for such epidemiological reports must be continued.  
Assigned tasks for our next meeting are as follows:  Mr. Gross – type suggested revisions agreed upon so far into appropriate portions of our existing Bylaw; contact Dr. Ben Luce at Lydon State University for any epidemiological and fluctuation of sound impact studies that he may know exists.  Ms. Krawet – contact Mr. Domina of the BRPC for further referrals to impact studies of the same type as above that he may know exist. Mr. Blake – continue his general research efforts with this topic in mind; Ms. Wallington – contact the MA Dep’t of Health, U Mass,  and major medical centers for studies with this topic in mind; Mr. Girard – contact Town of Russell for information from their turbine studies.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 1 at 9am.
Respectfully submitted –
Ann Krawet
                        


 
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