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Zoning Board of Adjustment Minutes 07/28/09

July 28, 2009 Meeting

Members & Staff Present:   Diane Chauncey (Staff)        Doug Crafts (Member)
Ron Haggett (Member)     John Kendall (Chair)            Peter Moore (Planner)           
Frank Scales (Member)                                                                                           
Members & Staff Absent:         Don Winchester (Alternate)  
John Giffin (Member)
Public Attendees:              Shelly Nelkens (resident)                Bonnie DuBrino (resident)       
Michael Pon (Villager)      Travis Bullard (Eolian)             Marshall Gale   (resident)      
Ben Pratt (resident)           Ellen Druan (Abutter)            Jack Kenworthy (Eolian)
John Soininen   (Eolian)      Annie Law (Resident)              Steve Sawyer (resident)    
 Elsa Voelker (resident)     Doug Stone (resident)              Laurie Bryan (Harris Center)    
Drew Kenworthy (Eolian) Richard Block (resident)              Loranne Carey Block (resident)
 Connie Vandervort (resident)                           Peter Beblowski (resident)
Barbara Berwick (Abutter)                                      Robert Cleland (resident)
7:00 pm Review Session:
Review materials for Antrim Energy LLC and July 14, 2009 minutes.

7:15 pm Public Meeting:  
Area Variance request by Antrim Wind Energy LLC for the height of a meteorological tower proposed to be constructed on property located at 354 Keene Road (Map 212, Lot 30) in Antrim, NH located in the Rural Conservation District.

Chair Kendall opened the Public Meeting at 7:16 pm and introduced the Board members. Chair Kendall explained the meeting procedure.  The applicant would present their proposal. The Board may ask questions. The Public Hearing would be opened and all those in favor of the proposal or not in favor of the proposal would be given an opportunity to speak. The time for each speaker would be limited to 5 minutes. The attendees would address only issues involved with the meteorological tower. Chair Kendall explained that the Board had four voting members not five members and gave the applicant the opportunity to defer the meeting to another night. Eolian would  proceed with four members.

Chair Kendall asked Mr. Moore to read the Public Notice:

Notice is hereby given that a public hearing will be held at 7:15 P.M., Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at the Antrim Town Hall concerning a request by Antrim Wind Energy, LLC for an area variance from Article XIV-D, Section D.1.b. (…In no situation shall the tower exceed 150 feet) to permit the construction of a meteorological tower on property located at 354 Keene Road (Tax Map 212, Lot 30) in Antrim, NH 03440, located in the Rural Conservation District. The applicant proposes to erect a 60 meter (197 feet-8.25 inches) tower to analyze the environmental factors needed to assess the potential to install, construct or erect a wind energy system. You are invited to appear in person or by agent or counsel to state reasons why you think this request should or should not be granted. Written concerns should be submitted to the Antrim Town Office prior to the meeting. The application and supporting documents are available for review at the Antrim Town Offices Monday through Thursday 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.Diane Chauncey, Planning Assistant, Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment. The notice had been posted in the Ledger on July 14, 2009. One letter – Clark Craig read by Mr. Moore. Two Phone calls – Ellen Druan who objected and also brought in a letter and information from the website concerning wind farms. Mr. Moore read the letter (which is available for viewing at the Town Hall, Monday – Thursday, 8 -4).

Chair Kendall asked the applicant to present their proposal for the area variance for height of a meteorological tower on Tuttle Hill.

Mr. Kenworthy presented a PowerPoint presentation which covered the following points:

Antrim Wind Energy LLC
·       Project entity established for a potential wind project
·       Wholly owned subsidiary of Eolian Renewable Energy, LLC
·       Using standard industry practices
Application to ZBA
·       Request for an area variance from Article XIV-D, Section D.1.b.
·       Proposed to erect a 60 meter(197 feet-8.25 inches) meteorological tower to analyze  the environmental factors needed to asses the potential to install, construct or erect a wind energy system.
·       No further development under consideration
Met Tower Characteristics
·       Less than 200 feet
·       No lighting required (following FAA standards)
·       No foundation and no new access road required
·       Silent
·       12” diameter tubular tower with guy wires to single anchor radius
·       Tower height is required to measure wind velocity at optimal elevation
·       All materials for tower can be transported in on a 4-wheeler
·       Temporary – maximum 3 years, 2 years estimated
Proposed Location
·       Topographical map of general location – dot represents tower location
·       Second topographical map – showed area zoomed in
·       actually clearer in hard copy packet
Met Tower Installations
·       Three photos  - tower itself, anchor, picture of tower laying flat
·       Comes as a kit, carry in, carry out, can be used again
Opportunities for Further Discussion
·       Eolian Renewable Energy LLC  is available to discuss all questions surrounding their Company, wind energy development model, and any potential future project in Antrim by phone or in person

Chair Kendall asked the Board if they had questions for the applicant. The following are some of the questions that were asked.

How long had Eolian had been in business and had the company successfully constructed a project?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that Eolian presently had seven projects ongoing. The Antrim project would be the first of the seven. The company has had experience in towers. They are a private company.

How would the towers be anchored and stabilized?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy explained that the towers are stabilized by guy wires.

What would occur with the data collected by the met tower?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that their company wished to build and operate their own projects and that they considered their models as a community scale wind – not a mega project. They wanted to make power close to where it will be used. He continued that collection of wind data is necessary for a preliminary analysis to determine economic viability. Many studies would need to be completed (avian, wildlife, environmental impact, permitting, off-taker for the power, etc.)

Would the applicant need to find capital?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that capital was needed.

Chair Kendall expressed his concern that there was a lot of curiosity about the Wind Farm, and that there were many questions, but that the Board and public attendees should not be side tracked by wind energy.

A question was asked concerning the meteorological tower’s elevation. Was it above the average tree canopy?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that it was above the average tree canopy (mixed spruce and hemlock)

Was there any tree clearing needed?
Some selective clearing would occur.  The tower will be assembled on the ground, but will need paths for construction – ultimately there would be a series of paths.

How is the data recorded?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that there are twelve separate sensors: anemometers at various levels, temperature and humidity sensors, etc. All the  information is transmitted to  a collector (which is a solar driven system) that will deploy the information to a satellite.

How crucial is it to have the met tower at the requested height?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said the banks control data requirement and that Eolian had to determine the variability of the incoming data. It was not just velocity, but also, a function of shear, which decreases the amount of air and gives better predictions.  Sixty meters is the minimum height to gather such data.

What about the FAA lighting requirements and the  height of the tower?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that any tower that constructed at a greater height than 200 feet  would require lighting and a greater base.
Mr. Soininen said that the collected information determines the correct turbine for the area.

Public Hearing :

Chair Kendall opened the public hearing portion of the meeting, questions were asked by public attendees as well as Board members.

Abutters in favor:

Barbara Berwick 72 Reed Carr Road  Mrs. Berwick had no problem with the proposal but was interested in where the tower would be situated and did Eolian have a tie-in with Lempster?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy showed the location of the meteorological tower on Tuttle Hill on the Town of Antrim map and on a topographical map.

Abutters not in favor:

Bonnie Dubrino-398 Keene Road  She wanted to know how the company planned ‘to get there’ (to the top of Tuttle Hill), and what protection would there be for moose and her horses.  She also read the definition of Rural Conservation District from the Antrim Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Bullard explained that there is a visible plastic cover on the guy wires with visible flags up to 8 feet, but that it cold be higher if requested.
What was the outer diameter of the guy wires?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that the completed area would be a 200’ diameter circle, and  that area would not be fully cleared.

Chair Kendall asked how high up the yellow markers would be placed and if a fence needed to be constructed around the perimeter of the meteorological tower.
Mr. Bullard said that the flags would be placed 16’ up the wires, and that a fence is not usually needed on a met tower.

Ellen Druan - Keene Road, She has researched lots of information on wind farms and feels that they  can be a serious problem and that  the college boys should not be allowed to experiment on anyone’s property. She is totally against the wind farms and wanted to voice her objection. The wind farms would be a danger to the community. Eolian should look at the abutters – there are many of them.

In favor :

Steve Sawyer – 7 Gregg Lake Drive (seasonal) Global Wind Energy Council – Belgium said that wind energy is the fastest growing energy source in the world. Seventy five countries have wind farms – 40 states in the United States have wind farms. He summarized by saying that the potential wind farm would be a wonderful project for the Town of Antrim and wishes Eolian the best of luck. He offered assistance to the Town with his knowledge and pointed out that one of the top engineering companies in wind turbine technology is based in Peterborough.

Not in favor:

Shelly Nelkens- 11  North Main Street, asked for a definition of “fatal flaw analysis”.
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that fatal flaw analysis is a process by which an investigative analysis would be applied to various aspects of the project in order to determine the viability of continuing with the project. Some of the aspects that would be investigated could be endangered species, migratory birds, conservation land, access issues (too difficult or too expensive), etc. – any constraints that would put up a red flag. As far as the impact of the met tower is concerned, Eolian has been working with DES (Tim Drew), and that determinations would be made from site walks and existing literature concerning the Tuttle Hill area. If the development were to go forward, there would be a 'full blown' impact study.

Shelly Nelkens stated that there should be a minimum impact study. The Board needs more information.

Peter Beblowski –318 Smith Road had questions concerning the diameter of the guy wires and the ice load capability, considering the serious ice storms experienced in Antrim.
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that there were 1/4" multiple wires, which would attach to four anchors. The wires with ice load were rated to withstand wind up to 150 mph. The tower is very heavy duty, made by a Vermont company who understands strong winter storms.

Peter Beblowski compared the tower to a mast on a sailboat. He questioned the wildlife moving through the area; and the erection of the tower, the tracked vehicle,  and large equipment necessary to construct the tower.
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that there would be zero impact on wildlife. There would be no foundation. A 4-wheeler could carry in the material and the guy wires would be put in place with a rotary drill.

Loranne Block - 63 Loveren Mill Road told how she lived directly across from Tuttle Hill and would need to look at the tower every day. She had tree canopy questions and did not understand that if the Antrim Zoning Ordinance said no higher than 35 feet above the tree canopy and no tower higher than 150 feet - how could a tower be allowed. She felt that the tower was inappropriate in any portion of Antrim. She submitted her letter to the Board to document her concerns for the proposed project.

Chair Kendall asked The Eolian group if it were possible for people to climb on the tower, and would insurance be in place.     
Mr. Kenworthy said that there would be signage to prohibit climbing, but that the pole is a monopole that would not be easy to climb. Insurance would be in place.

Mr. Haggett asked if the tower should  fail (or fall down) would Eolian realize it?
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said that the data created by the sensors would be sent to the satellite every day – should the information not be received – Eolian would recognize a problem.

Marshall Gale - 286 Keene Road (& Forest Fire Warden – Antrim Fire Department)- Mr. Gale is concerned about the height of the met tower, that the tree canopy is short, and as a resident, he would urge the Board to vote no.

Richard Block- 63 Loveren Mill Road – Mr. Block had a letter and an information packet to present to the Board as information that he wanted the Board to read and understand. Mr. Block felt that the company presenting the application had solely intended to pave the way for a large wind farm. His letter to the Board explains that (in his opinion as a Professor of Communications with 40 years of experience in marketing and advertising )that  the information presented by Eolian’s installation of wind turbines on Tuttle Hill “to be ludicrous misrepresentations of what this industrial complex would really look like’. Mr. Block also had a personal letter from Dr. Nina Pierpont, MD, Ph.D. which concerned the Wind Turbine Syndrome (her letter to the Blocks is available at Town Hall, Monday – Thursday, 8am – 4pm) Mr. Block presented his material to the ZBA and the public. The material is available for viewing at the Town Hall, 8-4, Monday – Thursday.

Chair Kendall recognized the information from Mr. Block as information for the Wind Farm discussion but not for the meteorological tower. He asked for further discussion on the met tower.

Elsa Volka -97 Old Pound Road – Ms. Volka was annoyed with the way NH “makes pin cushions out of its mountains”. She said that in European countries, the wind turbines are placed much lower in fields of crops with no people around.

Chair Kendall reminded the Public Attendees that the discussion concerned the meteorological tower.

Ellen Druan – Ms. Druan wanted said that she felt the wind farm was not safe.

Shelly Nelkens  Ms. Nelkens did not like the compartmentalization of the meeting. She did not like the “not having to talk about the wind towers”.

Chair Kendall reiterated that the Board was trying to determine information concerning the met tower and not what will occur ‘down the road’. The Board would try to determine the impact of this tower on this site, and not to determine the wind farm.

Chair Kendall asks if any others would like to speak:

Doug Stone,334 Keene Road- As a resident of Keene Road, Mr. Stone was concerned about the value of his property. He questioned, “Who would buy a place on Keene Rd.  if a wind tower was part of the scenic view?’
Mr. Jack Kenworthy said, “if you can see Tuttle Hill, you will see the tower.” The impact to property values is not known, but Eolian feels that the met tower should not have an impact on homes.

Ellen Druan  - Ms. Druan said that she had been  buying property for a long time and paying property taxes. She has bought “lovely homes, but then growth occurs, so she would sell and move to another home.  Mrs. Druan then moved to a peaceful place like Antrim and the last thing she wanted was to have wind towers.

Chair Kendall said that he would need to talk with Town Counsel about some of the issues that had been raised.
Annie Law - 43FarmsteadRoad Ms. Law told how she enjoyed waking each morning to the view of  Tuttle Mountain and does not want to see any structures on Tuttle Mountain.

Chair Kendall asked if there were any further comments from the Public Attendees. The Board then discussed the proposed meteorological tower. The following are some of the issues they discussed:

·       Maximum height of the tower
·       the variance for height of the tower
·       information concerning wind farms does not apply to this proposal.
·       must meet engineering standards
·       Possible benefit of a site walk

The Board determined that a site walk should occur. Chair Kendall asked Mr. Kenworthy if they would secure permission from the landowner and flag the tower site. Mr. Haggett moved to continue the Public Hearing to August 11, 2009 at 5:00pm at the Town Hall. Mr. Crafts seconded it and it was approved.

Details for the continued public meeting:

        August 11 (rain date August 12), 5:00pm, meet at Town Hall, proceed to Tuttle Hill      
        August 18 – Public Meeting continued 7:15pm

Business Meeting:

Approve July 14, 2009 minutes - Mr. Haggett moved to approve the minutes as amended. Mr. Crafts seconded the motion and the minutes were approved by all.

Notice of Decisions  The Special Exception and Variance Decisions which came out of the New Cingular application for the proposed cell tower were reviewed by the Board.

At 9:30 pm, Mr. Haggett moved to adjourn the Public Meeting. It was seconded by Mr. Crafts, and approved.

Respectfully submitted,

 Diane M. Chauncey
Planning Assistant, On Behalf of the Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment

Town of Antrim, NH P.O. Box 517, 66 Main Street Antrim, NH 03440
Phone: (603) 588-6785    Fax: (603) 588-2969    Monday - Thursday 8:00am - 4:00pm
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