As I drive on Rt. 95 going North past the Scotland Road exit, I come to the Newburyport vista that I always enjoy so much, what is known as the “Common Pasture.” Newburyport is one of those rare communities that has fought to combine rural agricultural historic areas, the Common Pasture, with architectural preservation, our Newburyport National Historic District, the engine of our economic and cultural vibrancy.
And smack dab in the middle of that beautiful vista is the gigantic, in my mind, completely out of scale with its surrounding environment, now getting fairly famous, wind turbine.
My knee jerk reaction, seeing it up and running, is to give it the finger. I wait a good while, before even deciding whether to comment on it on the Newburyport Blog or anywhere else.
A) I am totally politically incorrect, and green anywhere is good. The wind turbine is not an affront to the historic Newburyport landscape, but an 21st century adaptation, a natural outgrowth, the local Newburyport green response to “Drill Baby Drill.” I should be grateful.
B) Wind turbines are a good thing, but a balance between contemporary green technology and historic preservation is a vital thing for the long term economic vibrancy of our historic seaport New England city. It’s the completely out of scale aspect of the wind turbine that makes it objectionable. 292 feet is a lot of feet, even though the city ordinance written by Newburyport City Councilors Ed Cameron and Barry Connell allows for 300 feet, and a variance of up to 400 feet.
My knee jerk reaction is to want to run out and make sure that the Newburyport City Council who wrote, endorsed and voted for such out of scale structures, along with the Mayor of Newburyport who endorsed the ordinance, that none of them get re-elected to their elected posts. Plus, there are 22 sites that the Newburyport Planning Office deems acceptable for more out of scale wind turbines, although from what I can make out, at the moment no one seems to want to erect another one (yet).
There is a message from Ed Cameron on Gillian Swart’s blog:
The Newburyport Planning and Development Committee
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 7pm
Newburyport City Hall Auditorium
Wind Energy and the City’s Wind Energy Conversion ordinance–primary topic.
Anyone who now might have second thoughts about the ordinance or would like to see it “tweaked,” now that an example is spinning in our midst, would be able to have a chat with our Newburyport city officials.
Editor’s Note: President of the Newburyport City Council James Shanley has emailed me to say that the Wind Energy Conversion Facilities Ordinance was written by the Planning Board and the Planning Office. Newburyport City Councilors Ed Cameron and Barry Connell were the Newburyport Councilors who sponsored the ordinance, and James is pretty sure that it passed 11-0.
The link to the Wind Energy Conversion Facilities Ordinance is here.