THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Hingham residents wary about turbine in Cohasset

By Christine Legere
Globe Correspondent / December 12, 2010

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A group of Hingham homeowners who recently learned of a 400-foot-tall wind turbine being permitted over the town line in Cohasset are complaining that their neighborhoods would bear the burdens of the wind machines while Cohasset would pick up the tax revenue.

The Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit conservation group based in Sharon, has proposed the turbine for its 850-acre property spanning the Cohasset-Hingham town line. The machine, proposed for Turkey Hill in Cohasset, is expected to produce 5 million kilowatts of electricity annually. The power would be channeled to the Trustees’ own operations and the surplus sold to the area’s power grid.

While Cohasset wouldn’t benefit from the electricity generated there, it would pick up some tax revenue from a site that has historically been tax exempt.

The homeowners in Hingham neighborhoods surrounding Turkey Hill argue that the drawbacks range from falling property values to the flickering of light and shadows produced by whirling turbine blades.

The neighbors have hired a lawyer who questions whether the Trustees, under the group’s charter written in 1891, can develop conservation land without a two-thirds vote of the State Legislature.

Attorney Jeffrey Tocchio has also called some of the data relating to the project faulty, pointing out the Cohasset Planning Board’s engineer wasn’t willing to sign off on the noise data.

Several Hingham residents attended the Planning Board’s hearing last Wednesday to express their concern, fearful the board would make its decision on the wind project that night. The board instead continued the hearing until this Wednesday.

Most of the Hingham residents’ comments at the hearing were met with impatience by the Planning Board. When homeowner Darren Donovan warned the turbine’s massive blades and tower were too large to be trucked to Turkey Hill via Hingham, board chairman Al Moore said that details relating to construction weren’t currently the board’s concern.

“Tonight we’re not here to permit trucks going through,’’ Moore said. “We’re here to look at the site. Of course we’re concerned about actual construction, but we’re talking about a one-time delivery.’’

Christine Legere can be reached at christinelegere@yahoo.com