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Point Peninsula man wants to erect 140-foot turbine; asks town officials to ease proposed restrictions

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THREE MILE BAY — In an effort to make its “small wind law” proposal more reasonable, town officials are considering allowing residents to install personal turbines up to 125 feet tall.

Initially, Lyme planners, who were given the task to draft zoning rules for private turbines, wanted to keep the structures at or below 80 feet.

But the newly proposed height requirement still doesn’t fit the needs of a town resident who wants to erect a 140-foot turbine this spring to power his Point Peninsula home.

“I should have done this several years ago,” said Charles B. Kingsley, who has been waiting for the town to adopt a personal wind turbine law and lift the moratorium on wind development. “Everything is in limbo here.”

Mr. Kingsley said he owns nearly 700 acres on Point Peninsula and his wind turbine would not bother anybody regardless of its height.

The roughly $72,000 project is expected to save Mr. Kingsley an estimated $2,400 per year in electricity costs — a better investment, he said, in this economy, than buying stock.

But a smaller turbine would translate into smaller savings, he said, and greater setbacks would mean he would have to purchase more wire to connect his turbine to the power grid.

Lyme town Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said anybody who wishes to see the Town Council make further changes should make a case at the public hearing before the proposed rules are adopted into law.

Lyme is likely to hold the hearing before its monthly meeting in March.

In addition to new height restrictions, officials are considering a property line setback of five times the height of a turbine and noise limits of 35 decibels at night — from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. — and 50 decibels during the day.

Mr. Kingsley said he will make another attempt to persuade town board members to make the proposed “small wind law” less restrictive at the hearing.

If that doesn’t work, Mr. Kingsley said, he will ask the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to intervene — following the example of Harvey and Susan Grimshaw, Henderson, who were allowed in September to install a 150-foot turbine under state Agriculture and Markets law, which prohibits municipal interference with farm practices within agricultural zones.

Mr. Kingsley said the three parcels — totaling 687 acres — he owns on Point Peninsula are all registered in Jefferson County Agricultural Northern District No. 2. And although Mr. Kingsley currently does not own any cattle, he said he shares crops with two local farmers who cut and harvest hay from his property.

“I’m just going to do it,” Mr. Kingsley said, adding that he is not willing to compromise on his plans.

Lyme’s Town Council also will consider adopting zoning laws for solar and biomass energy development at its March board meeting.

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