Town of Barre, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Barre Planning Board as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Environmental evaluation — See Ch. 42.
Zoning — See Ch. 140.
Earth removal — See Ch. 201.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 202.
Review of subdivision plans — See Ch. 303.
[Adopted 2-2-2010]

§ 203-1 Purpose; applicability; special permit required.

A. 
Purpose. The purpose of this regulation is to provide:
(1) 
The procedure and requirements for obtaining a special permit for the construction and operation of wind-energy facilities;
(2) 
Standards for the placement, design, construction, monitoring, modification and removal of wind-energy facilities that address public safety, minimize impacts on scenic, natural and historic resources of the Town; and
(3) 
Adequate financial assurance for removal of discontinued facilities.
B. 
Applicability. This regulation applies to all wind-energy facilities proposed to be constructed after the effective date of this regulation, and to modifications of existing wind-energy facilities that materially alter the type, configuration, or size of such facilities or other related equipment.
C. 
Special permit.
(1) 
A special permit is required for all small wind-energy facilities, large wind-energy facilities and utility-scale wind-energy facilities in all zoning districts. The special permit may be issued by the Planning Board.
(2) 
A special permit may be granted if the Planning Board (Special Permit Granting Authority) finds in writing that:
(a) 
The specific site is an appropriate location for such use;
(b) 
The wind-energy facility will not pose a hazard to persons, animals, buildings or vehicles;
(c) 
The wind-energy facility will not create a nuisance or otherwise adversely affect the surrounding neighborhood;
(d) 
Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation and maintenance of the use;
(e) 
The proposed design is adequate and appropriate for the site.
(3) 
The Special Permit Granting Authority may impose reasonable conditions, safeguards and limitations on time and use and may require the applicant to implement reasonable measures to mitigate or eliminate potential adverse impacts caused by construction and/or use of the wind-energy facility.

§ 203-2 Definitions.

As used in this Regulation, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING-INTEGRATED WIND-ENERGY FACILITY
A wind-energy facility permanently mounted on a building or other structure. This definition applies to wind turbines of any capacity that are designed to be operated in direct contact with a building.
BYLAW
The Town of Barre Zoning Bylaw.[1]
HEIGHT
The height of a wind turbine measured from natural grade to the tip of the rotor blade at its highest point, or blade-tip height.
LARGE WIND-ENERGY FACILITY
A wind-energy facility with a rated nameplate capacity of greater than 100 kW/0.1 MW.
ON-SITE WIND-ENERGY FACILITY
A large wind-energy facility located at a commercial, industrial, agricultural, institutional, or public facility that will generate electricity primarily for on-site use.
RATED NAMEPLATE CAPACITY
The maximum rated output of electric power production equipment. This output is typically specified by the manufacturer with a nameplate on the equipment.
SHADOW FLICKER
Shadow flicker is caused by sunlight passing through the swept area of the wind turbine's blades, creating a stroboscopic effect.
SITE (or PROJECT SITE)
The lot or lots on which a wind-energy facility is located, together with all mandatory setback areas, if any, extending beyond the boundaries of such lot or lots.
SMALL WIND-ENERGY FACILITY
A wind-energy facility with a rated nameplate capacity of not more than 100 kW/ 0.1 MW.
UTILITY-SCALE WIND-ENERGY FACILITY
A commercial wind-energy facility, where the primary use of the facility is electrical generation to be sold to the wholesale electricity markets.
WIND-ENERGY FACILITY
All equipment, machinery and structures utilized on a single site in connection with the conversion of wind to electricity. This includes, but is not limited to, transmission, storage, collection and supply equipment, substations, transformers, service and access roads, and one or more wind turbines.
WIND MONITORING OR METEOROLOGICAL TOWER
A temporary tower equipped with devices to measure wind speeds and direction. A meteorological tower is used to determine how much wind power a site can be expected to generate.
WIND TURBINE
A device that converts kinetic wind energy into rotational energy that drives an electrical generator. A wind turbine typically consists of a tower, nacelle body, and a rotor with two or more blades.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 140, Zoning.

§ 203-3 Requirements for construction and operation.

The following requirements are common to all wind-energy facilities and must be followed in addition to the technology or class-specific requirements. All wind-energy facilities shall be constructed and operated in a manner that minimizes any adverse visual, safety, and environmental impacts.
A. 
Compliance with laws, ordinances and regulations. The construction and operation of all wind-energy facilities shall be consistent with all applicable local, state and federal requirements, including but not limited to all applicable safety, construction, environmental, electrical, communications and Federal Aviation Administration aviation requirements. Prior to approval of a special permit, the applicant shall obtain a building permit from the appropriate authority.
B. 
Proof of liability insurance. The applicant shall be required to provide evidence of liability insurance in an amount and for a duration sufficient to cover loss or damage to persons and property occasioned by the construction and use of any wind-energy facility, including negligence and acts of God.
C. 
Site control. The applicant shall submit proof of control of the project site sufficient to allow for installation and use of the proposed wind-energy facility. Documentation shall include proof of control over setback areas and adequate access to the wind-energy facility from a public way. Control shall include the legal authority to prevent the use or construction of any structure for human habitation within the setback areas.
D. 
Utility notification. No wind-energy facility shall be installed until evidence has been given that the applicable utility company has been informed of its customer's intent to install such facility, and has approved such installation as necessary. Off-grid systems shall be exempt from this requirement.
E. 
Utility connections. To the extent reasonably possible, depending on soil conditions, shape, and topography of the site and the requirements of the utility provider, utility connections from the wind-energy facility shall be located underground. Electrical transformers for utility interconnections may be above the ground if required by the utility provider.
F. 
Accessory structures. All structures accessory to a wind-energy facility, including, but not limited to, equipment shelters, storage facilities, transformers, and substations, shall be architecturally compatible with each other and shall be contained within the turbine tower whenever technically and economically feasible. Whenever reasonable, such structures should be shaded from view by vegetation and/or located in an underground vault and joined or clustered to avoid adverse visual impacts.
G. 
Meteorological towers (met towers). Met towers shall be permitted under the same standards applicable to small wind-energy facilities, except that a permit for a temporary met tower shall be valid for only three years.

§ 203-4 Siting standards.

A. 
Setbacks.
(1) 
Wind turbines shall be set back a distance equal to 120% of the total height of the wind turbine from all inhabited structures, overhead utility lines, public or private ways or access easements, property boundaries and other wind turbines. No wind-energy facility may be installed in a front yard or between a way or access easement and the front of an inhabited building.
(2) 
The Special Permit Granting Authority may reduce the minimum setback distance as appropriate, based on site-specific considerations, or written consent of the affected abutter(s), if the project satisfies all other criteria for the granting of a special permit.
B. 
Height.
(1) 
The height of wind-energy facilities in all zoning districts will be limited to the setback requirement for wind turbines or 300 feet, whichever is less.
(2) 
The Special Permit Granting Authority may allow wind-energy facilities of greater height than set forth herein only upon the applicant's demonstration that such greater height is necessary for operation of the facility, and the facility satisfies all other criteria for the granting of a special permit.
C. 
Multiple turbines. A wind-energy facility may have multiple turbines. Each turbine on a site must meet all requirements applicable to the type of wind-energy facility approved for the site.

§ 203-5 Design standards.

A. 
Appearance, color and finish. The wind generator and tower shall remain painted or finished with the nonreflective color or finish that was originally applied by the manufacturer, unless approved otherwise in the special permit. Federal Aviation Administration safety considerations concerning color and appearance must be adhered to as applicable.
B. 
Lighting and signage.
(1) 
Lighting. Wind turbines shall be lighted only as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. Lighting of other parts of the wind-energy facility, such as appurtenant structures, shall be limited to that required for safety and operational purposes, and shall be reasonably shielded from abutting properties.
(2) 
Signage. Signage on the wind-energy facility shall comply with the requirements of the Town's sign regulations and shall be limited to that necessary to reasonably identify the owner and manufacturer, provide twenty-four-hour emergency contact information, and warn of any danger.
(3) 
Advertising. Wind turbines shall not be used for displaying any advertising except for reasonable identification of the manufacturer and/or operator of the wind-energy facility.

§ 203-6 Safety, aesthetic and environmental standards.

A. 
Emergency services. The applicant shall provide a copy of the project summary, an electrical schematic, and plot or site plan to the local emergency services entity, as designated by the Special Permit Granting Authority. Upon request, the applicant shall cooperate with local emergency services in developing an emergency response plan. All means of disconnecting the wind-energy facility shall be clearly indicated on the materials provided, and marked on each wind-energy facility. The applicant or facility owner shall maintain a phone number and identify a responsible person for the public, police, fire, emergency medical services and Zoning Enforcement Officer to contact throughout the life of the facility.
B. 
Unauthorized access. Wind turbines or other structures that are part of a wind-energy facility shall be designed to prevent unauthorized access. For instance, the tower shall be designed and installed so as to not provide step bolts or other climbing means readily accessible to the public for a minimum height of eight feet above the ground. Electrical equipment shall be locked where possible.
C. 
Shadow flicker. Wind-energy facilities shall be sited in a manner that minimizes shadowing or flicker impacts. The applicant has the burden of proving that this effect does not have significant adverse impact on neighboring or adjacent uses.
D. 
Land clearing, soil erosion and habitat impacts. Clearing of natural vegetation shall be limited to that which is necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance of the wind-energy facility and is otherwise prescribed by applicable laws, regulations, and ordinances.
E. 
Noise.
(1) 
The wind-energy facility shall conform to the provisions of the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Air Quality Noise Regulations (310 CMR 7.10).
(2) 
A wind-energy facility will be considered to be in violation of these regulations if it increases the broadband sound level by more than 10 dB(A) above ambient, or produces a pure tone condition: when any octave band center frequency sound-pressure level exceeds the two adjacent center frequency sound-pressure levels by three decibels or more. These criteria are measured both at the property line and at the nearest inhabited structure. "Ambient" is defined as the background A-weighted sound level that is exceeded 90% of the time measured during equipment operating hours. An analysis prepared by a qualified engineer shall be presented to demonstrate compliance with these noise standards if required by the Special Permit Granting Authority incidental to its consideration of a special permit application.

§ 203-7 Maintenance; discontinuance and removal; permit expiration.

A. 
Facility conditions. The applicant shall maintain the wind-energy facility in good condition. Maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, painting, structural repairs, and integrity of security measures. Site access shall be maintained to a level acceptable to the local Fire Chief and Emergency Medical Services. The project owner shall be responsible for the cost of maintaining the wind-energy facility and adequate access to the facility from a public way, and the cost of repairing any damage occurring as a result of operation and construction.
B. 
Discontinuance and removal.
(1) 
Any wind-energy facility not used for a period of 18 months or more without written permission from the Special Permit Granting Authority, or that has reached the end of its useful life, shall be considered discontinued, and shall be removed. When an applicant intends to decommission and/or remove a wind-energy facility, the applicant shall notify the Zoning Enforcement Officer and Building Inspector by certified mail of the proposed date of discontinued operations and plans for removal. The owner/operator shall physically remove the wind-energy facility no more than 150 days after the date of discontinued operations. At the time of removal, the affected portion of the site shall be restored as near as possible to the state it was in before the facility was constructed, unless put to another legally authorized, active use. Decommissioning and removal shall consist of:
(a) 
Physical removal of all wind turbines, structures, equipment, security barriers and transmission lines from the site;
(b) 
Disposal of all solid and hazardous waste in accordance with local and state waste disposal regulations;
(c) 
Stabilization or revegetation of the site as necessary to minimize erosion. The Zoning Enforcement Officer may allow the owner to leave landscaping or designated below-grade foundations in order to minimize erosion and disruption to vegetation.
(2) 
Upon request, the applicant shall provide evidence to the Zoning Enforcement Officer demonstrating continued use of the wind-energy facility. Failure to provide such evidence within 30 days of a written request from the Zoning Enforcement Officer addressed to the contact address provided and maintained by the applicant as required above shall be conclusive evidence that the wind-energy facility has been discontinued.
(3) 
If the applicant fails to remove the wind-energy facility in accordance with the requirements of this section, the Town shall have the right, to the extent it is otherwise duly authorized by law, to enter the property and remove the facility at the expense of the facility owner and the owner(s) of the site on which the facility is located.
C. 
Expiration. A special permit shall automatically expire if:
(1) 
The wind-energy facility is not installed and functioning within 24 months from the date the permit is issued; or
(2) 
The wind-energy facility is discontinued.

§ 203-8 Application documentation requirements; financial surety; independent consultants.

A. 
Wind-energy systems permit submission requirements. An application for a wind-energy facility special permit shall be accompanied by detailed documentation referenced in § 203-8B below and shall also meet the submission requirements set forth in § 203-8B(3).
B. 
General required documents.
(1) 
A plot plan showing:
(a) 
Property lines and physical dimensions of the wind-energy facility site;
(b) 
Location, dimensions, and types of existing structures on the site;
(c) 
Location of the proposed wind-energy facility tower(s), foundations, guy anchors and associated equipment;
(d) 
Public and private ways and access easements contiguous with or passing through the site;
(e) 
Overhead utility lines on the site;
(f) 
Location and approximate height of tree cover on the site.
(2) 
Technical documentation:
(a) 
Wind-energy facility technical specifications, including manufacturer and model, rotor diameter, tower height, tower type (freestanding or guyed);
(b) 
Tower blueprint or drawing signed by a professional engineer;
(c) 
Electrical diagram detailing wind turbine, associated components, and electrical interconnection methods including all National Electrical Code compliant disconnect and over-current devices;
(d) 
Foundations for towers less than or equal to 100 feet must have blueprints or drawings signed by a professional engineer;
(e) 
Foundations for towers greater than 100 feet must have blueprints or drawings signed by a professional engineer licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;
(f) 
A maintenance plan.
(3) 
General:
(a) 
Documentation of the legal right to use the wind-energy facility site;
(b) 
The name, contact information and signature of any agents representing the applicant;
(c) 
Name, address, phone number and signature of the applicant, as well as all co-applicants or property owners.
C. 
Additional submission requirements for large- and utility-scale wind-energy facilities.
(1) 
Location map. The applicant shall submit to the Special Permit Granting Authority a copy of a portion of the most recent United States Geological Survey Quadrangle Map, at a scale of 1:25,000, showing the proposed wind-energy facility site, including turbine sites, and the area within at least two miles from the facility. Zoning district designation for the subject parcel should be included; however, a copy of a Zoning Map with the parcel identified is suitable.
(2) 
Site plan. A one-inch-equals-two-hundred-feet plan of the proposed wind-energy facility site, with contour intervals of no more than 10 feet, showing the following:
(a) 
Property lines for the site parcel and adjacent parcels within 300 feet;
(b) 
Outline of all existing structures, including purpose (e.g., residence, garage, etc.), on the site parcel and all adjacent parcels within 500 feet. Include distances from the wind-energy facility to each structure shown;
(c) 
Location of all roads and access easements, public and private, on the site parcel and adjacent parcels within the setback distance of 1.2 times the blade-tip height, and proposed roads or driveways, either temporary or permanent;
(d) 
Existing areas of tree cover, and average height of trees within the setback distance of 1.2 times the blade-tip height;
(e) 
Proposed location and design of the wind-energy facility, including all turbines, ground equipment, appurtenant structures, transmission infrastructure, access, fencing, exterior lighting, etc.;
(f) 
Location of view representations, as defined herein.
(3) 
View representations for large- and utility-scale wind-energy facilities. The applicant shall provide, upon the request of the Special Permit Granting Authority, up to three view representations for large wind-energy facilities and four view representations for utility-scale wind-energy facilities. View representations shall be in color and shall include actual preconstruction photographs and accurate post-construction simulations of the height and breadth of the wind facility (e.g., superimpositions of the wind facility onto photographs of existing views) as taken or seen from fixed points selected by the Special Permit Granting Authority within populated areas or on public ways within a two-mile radius of the proposed wind-energy facility. Such fixed points shall include the nearest building with a view of the wind-energy facility. All view representations will include existing and proposed structures, plus tree coverage, and shall further include a description of the technical procedures followed in producing the view representation (distances, angles, lens, etc.).
(4) 
Operation and maintenance plan. The applicant shall submit a plan for maintenance of site access and stormwater drainage facilities serving the site, as well as general procedures for operational maintenance of the wind-energy facility.
(5) 
Compliance documents. The applicant will provide with the application:
(a) 
Proof of adequate financial surety, as set forth below;
(b) 
Proof of liability insurance;
(c) 
Certification of height approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, as required;
(d) 
Evidence of existing site sound levels and maximum sound levels for the proposed wind-energy facility demonstrating compliance with this regulation.
(6) 
Required supporting documentation for building-integrated wind-energy facilities. A special permit application for a building-integrated wind-energy facility shall include:
(a) 
Analysis and design documents, completed by a licensed structural engineer, demonstrating that the proposed building is structurally sufficient to support the permanent installation of the proposed building-integrated wind-energy facility. At a minimum, the analysis should address vibration, wind load, and ice load;
(b) 
Elevation drawings of the building with building-integrated wind-energy facility installed, viewed from north, south, east, and west;
(c) 
Building schematic detailing point(s) of connection and associated supports for the building-integrated wind-energy facility;
(d) 
Schematic of attachment method for connecting the building-integrated wind-energy facility to the building;
(e) 
Specification sheets for wind turbine and all related components (inverters, controllers, disconnects, etc.);
(f) 
Electrical diagram detailing wind turbine, associated components, and electrical interconnection methods and showing all National Electrical Code compliant disconnects and over-current devices.
(7) 
Landscape plan for utility-scale projects. A special permit application for a utility-scale project shall include a plan indicating all proposed changes to the landscape of the site, including temporary or permanent roads or driveways, grading, vegetation clearing and planting, exterior lighting other than Federal Aviation Administration lights, screening vegetation or structures. Lighting shall be designed to minimize glare on abutting properties and except as required by the Federal Aviation Administration be directed downward with full cut-off fixtures to reduce light pollution.
(8) 
Financial surety for large wind-energy and utility-scale projects. An applicant for a large wind-energy or utility-scale wind-energy facility special permit must provide a form of surety, either through escrow account, bond or otherwise, to cover the cost of removal in the event the Town must remove the facility, of an amount and form determined to be reasonable by the Special Permit Granting Authority. Such surety will not be required for municipally owned or state-owned facilities. Provision and continued maintenance of the bond shall be a condition of the special permit. The applicant shall submit a fully inclusive estimate of the costs associated with removal, prepared by a qualified engineer. The amount shall include a mechanism for cost-of-living adjustment.
D. 
Independent consultants.
(1) 
Upon submission of an application for a wind-energy facility special permit, the Special Permit Granting Authority may engage, at the applicant's cost, professional and technical consultants, including legal counsel, to assist the Authority with its review of the application, in accordance with the requirements of MGL c. 44, § 53G.
(2) 
The applicant shall pay to the Special Permit Granting Authority an initial deposit of $500 for small wind-energy facilities, $1,000 for large wind-energy facilities and $1,500 for utility-scale wind-energy facilities for such review at the time of submission of the permit application, which shall be deposited into a special account established by the Town Treasurer under MGL c. 44, § 53G. The balance of this account shall at no time be less than 1/2 the initial deposit, and the applicant shall deposit with the Treasurer such additional funds as are required to restore the account to the amount of the initial deposit upon notice from the Special Permit Granting Authority, by first-class mail, that the amount on deposit has been decreased by the expenditures described herein to an amount at or below 1/2 of the initial deposit. If the applicant fails to restore the account balance and the balance is insufficient to pay incurred professional and technical review fees, the Special Permit Granting Authority shall send the invoice directly to the applicant for immediate payment. Failure to comply with this section shall be good grounds for denying the special permit application. Upon approval of the special permit application, any excess amount in the account attributable to that project, including any interest accrued, shall be repaid to the applicant or the applicant's successor in interest.