Neighbors protest plan for turbine

Critics threaten suit, request more data

By Christine Legere
Globe Correspondent / December 19, 2010

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The industrial wind turbine planned for conservation land spanning parts of Hingham and Cohasset has created a spat between these two well-heeled neighbors. And whatever Cohasset’s Planning Board decides at its Jan. 12 meeting, the case will probably wind up in court.

The Trustees of Reservations, a Sharon-based nonprofit organization, has proposed a 410-foot-tall wind turbine for its Turkey Hill property. While the site lies in Cohasset, it’s bordered by Hingham neighborhoods, and homeowners there have hired an attorney to protect their interests.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Planning Board, which ended hearings on the proposal, attorney Jeffrey Tocchio said that approval of a special permit for the turbine is likely to trigger a 10-taxpayer lawsuit, based on shortcomings he saw in the application.

But Cohasset Planning Board Chairman Al Moore called the threat of court action “a lot of bluster.’’

“We wouldn’t be doing our job if we were intimidated by people saying, ‘We’re going to sue,’ ’’ Moore said. The project, he said, will be approved if it meets Cohasset’s bylaws, which planners believe it does. Otherwise, the applicant would likely sue, Moore said.

“We get sued all the time,’’ Moore said. “And in this case, I’d say we may be appealed either way.’’

Hingham homeowners, who learned of the turbine proposal about two weeks ago, made impassioned pleas to Cohasset planners on Wednesday.

“We love this land, and they’re taking it away from us,’’ Turkey Hill Lane resident Julie Dale said.

“I’m asking you as human beings to consider the impacts this will have on those of us that live there and love this place.’’