Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Article 25, Wind Turbine By-law


Below is the full version, 8 pages, of Article 25, for the upcoming Town Meeting. The bottom line to this latest assault on our rights to capture what wind happens on our property. Some on their side believe it doesn't go far enough in the prohibition of all wind turbines while some state they are not pleased with the proposal, but, like so many other times we hear, it's the best we can come up with and we need a By-Law anyway.

This country, meaning us, are at the dawn of renewable energy. It's benefits to the environment and our self reliance are beyond comprehension. The Leader of the free world, our President Obama, clearly and unmistakably supports wind energy and hundreds of millions of dollars are and will be pumped into this newest of opportunities for the average American. A 30% tax credit and buy back program will make this technology more easily affordable and will have shorter pay back times. Green energy appliances on properties will increase the value of your home and business will see real savings in the costs of doing business.

This By-Law proposal denies us, just above average Americans who want to be more self sufficient and globally aware, the right to have any wind turbines on our property... at any height. A few businesses and public buildings will be able to have them (wind turbines) on their roofs and a few in the business zones, but to have a small unit on your home, you would have to have an acre and half for the set back requirement.

There are huge difference in wind energy devices, just like cars, bikes, boats, trailers, etc etc. No difference in the wind energy device market either. The units you read about and see around Mass are 250 feet... plus in the air and their swept area is larger than my home. But there are, coming soon, wind energy devices that are manufactured and tested under strict guidelines that will sit 30 to 50' in the air and even on your homes. This By-Law will take away any right to the wind on our property plain and simple. It's not fair and flies in the face of what this country and almost every country around the world is doing today, promoting green energy via wind turbines.

If anyone agrees with this premise, please, contact you precinct reps. They are listed on the Town Web Site. Tell them, it's UN American, we should have the right to the wind on our property. We have flag poles with flags on them don't we?



At April 22, 2009 at 12:34 PM , Blogger Brian V. said...

If you know so much about this, why didn't you get on the committee for this by-law? Sounds like it was written by a bunch of people who don't know what they are talking about.

At April 22, 2009 at 12:36 PM , Blogger Old Blogger said...

I don't know anything about wind turbines, but sounds like the new President is all for this stuff. Why is the town of Framingham so determined to not do what the President is encouraging all of us to do, which is to use alternative energy sources and reduce our dependance on foreign oil?

At April 22, 2009 at 1:11 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Brian, OB,

No one asked me to be on the committee and at least two of the committee know I have worked in small wind technology and I'm presently working in research and development in that arena. I believe this ad hoc committee was assembled via the BOS.. . friends of Chaba the Hut) and we all know, how much they loath me. The last time is was appointed to a committee, (cable advisory for public access studio) we assembled a well thought out plan and proposal, but it was never heard by the BOS. I've learned a valuable lesson.

We went to a couple of their meetings and I had offered to give whom ever all of my working documents, including ALL the requirements for certification for small wind turbines. But the egos on the committee didn't want to hear anything from a non party loyalist.

This entire process is headed by angry people who are of the notion that what they believe is what is best for everyone here in Town, despite what President Obama has to say about wind energy.

I'm asking the by law be sent back to the authors for refinement and a clear distinction between small wind turbines (under 20KW) and large scale,(mega watt class) commercial wind turbines.

At April 22, 2009 at 1:45 PM , Blogger Eric said...

The problem with town government is that no one pays attention. I did not even know the town of Framingham was considering a by-law on wind turbines. Why don’t we all get some notice of this type of regulation being proposed? Anyway, thanks for the heads up. I will be contacting my town meeting member to voice my opposition to this. Just curious, have other towns written by laws for this, or is Framingham looking to regulate something that no other town sees the need to regulate?

At April 22, 2009 at 2:18 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


Hopkinton and Holliston are proposing similar but no way the same regulations as Framingham. Both these Towns recognize the significance of wind energy and have adopted very reasonable rules. A Libertarian by nature, I'm of the belief any homeowner should be able to do pretty much anything to his/her property and something as simple as the harnessing the wind, is a natural right. Framingham's Wind Turbine prohibition denies my rights to use of wind.

That written...
I would not allow my neighbor to build a 250 foot tower over my home though. And I do see the "community best interest" need to regulate such huge monuments and do agree with fall zone set backs, noise, safety, aviation regulations among others. Reasonable regulations are needed, but don't prohibit us from harnessing what little wind there is on top of our roof or,.... on pole 30 feet high.

At April 22, 2009 at 3:20 PM , Blogger Anderson said...

Jim, I wish we could get all this stuff on the record at Town Meeting. People don’t understand this stuff. Unfortunately, most of the people who go to Town Meeting are older, and not as familiar with new technology. The 30-40 yr olds in town have family and work commitments and just don’t get involved in town politics. Like it or not, that is the case. Some 70 yr old retired guy does not understand about wind turbines, and he is going to think the knowledgeable people are the ones on the committee that wrote the by-law, so they will support it. How do we fight that?

At April 22, 2009 at 3:32 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


I'm going to a article meeting tonight sponsored by someone from precinct 7. And tomorrow I will attend the planning board meeting and see what they are thinking.

I have one rep here that will deliver a statement on my behalf and I will do a mailing to all the other reps here in 6. I hope to get an editorial in before Tuesday.

The deck is stacked here... in so many ways, but I think most Town Meeting members are aware now of what green energy is. And Town Meeting sent this back before...last time, so I have to believe they will again. It's beyond what a treasonably inelegant person could understand.

At April 22, 2009 at 5:07 PM , Blogger SoxFan said...

Why isn’t there some sort of state regulation regarding installing wind turbines? I mean, the safety issue should be the same no matter what city or town you install one of these in, right? So if Hopkinton, a pretty upscale community, thinks it can keep it’s citizens safe with a shorter regulation, why can’t Framingham do the same? I think this is not the same as how big a lot in your town has to be to build a house, because that can be different depending on the income level and tax base a town looks to have. But a wind turbine, pretty much safety issues should be pretty standard don’t you think?

At April 22, 2009 at 5:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't wind turbines dangerous? I don't want some blade flying off my neighbors roof and hitting my kid, or even my car. We need to regulate these things. Just because Obama says they are a great idea does not mean they are.

At April 22, 2009 at 5:34 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Anonn... they are built so that they are not dangerous. Small wind units are even safer, they spin vertically and have much smaller rotors. The larger commercial grade mega watt units have been successfully running for years now and have no safety issues. Safety has been built into these systems under very tight regulatory standards.

Learn the truth and then make a educated decision.

At April 22, 2009 at 6:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small wind turbines, haven't heard much about them, but when I read this by-law, sounds like it is talking about these huge blade monstrosities primarily and not really addressing these smaller units. Two questions. First, is there even a unit you can mount on your roof, and second, why would anyone want to put a huge turbine in their back yard?

At April 23, 2009 at 8:26 AM , Blogger 6th Middlesex constituent said...

THanks for the heads up about this. I will be contacting my town meeting member to see what the deal is on this. I bet they don't even know anything about wind turbines, so will vote blindly on this Article, as they do on so many things. I beleive in town government, but for it to work, we have to elect people who are committed and willing to invest the time to understand what it going on in the town, and unfortunately, I think Framingham has lost sight of that. We elect people who have been there for ever, because they have been there forever, not because they are keeping up with the times and the changes in the world. And that mentality leaves Framingham at a disadvantage in areas like this, alternative energy. We all lose.

At April 23, 2009 at 9:56 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


Some manufactures of wind turbines are claiming that their units can be mounted on a roof, but more for commercial buildings and not homes, yet. Flat roof buildings have different structural capabilities and can support weight and vibration. Smaller micro wind turbines for home owners are being tested and structural engineers are at work designing the necessary improvements to support extra weight on roofs and vibration issues. None to date have been certified to be grid connected, yet. And when they do you will see a whole class of wind energy appliances that connect to your homes that are no bigger than the flags I have on my flag pole.

They will not be 250 feet in the air, hovering over your neighbors. The mega watt class units will be installed in areas that are far from people.

At April 23, 2009 at 10:04 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


There may be some revisions to the By-Law that come from the planning board tonight. My hope is that they will use some common sense in deciding if they support this by -law as written. They may suggest some revisions that may or may not be adopted by the adhoc committee. Unfortunately, any changes may not be vetted well and if adopted, may not give Town Meeting members much time to digest before Town Meeting.

All I want, for all of you, is to have the right to capture whatever wind their is on our property. Prohibiting us from doing that in any form should be rejected

At April 23, 2009 at 10:06 AM , Blogger Derek said...

Why does the town of Framingham even have any right to tell me I can not put a device in my yard to save me money? Essentially, isn't that what they are doing? Yes, I should not put up anything that is a danger or annoyance to my neighbors, but beyond that, stop legislating my rights on my own land. Sounds like this bylaw denys me the right to do something they are going to let businesses in town do. How is that fair and just?

At April 23, 2009 at 10:41 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


Exactly..... to the point.

And is what this is all about, political correctness verses our rights as land owners

At April 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM , Blogger James said...

I bet turnout for town meeting is really low. Election results were the lowest ever I think. People have just given up trying to make things happen or change anything. If you can get enough people informed about this, then maybe you can keep the bylaw from passing, but if it is just the regular town meeting members there and they are the only ones voting, the will pass it, not because they think it is any good, but because they will assume the committee knows what its talking about and if they don't hear any oposition, they will assume everyone thinks it is a good bylaw. I am out of town on business all next week, and again the week after, so I can't make town meeting, but I hope enough people do make it to at least get on the record of being opposed to this regulation.

At April 24, 2009 at 8:43 AM , Blogger Michael said...

Saw you on local access at the Planning Board meeting last night. Nice job making your point. Who was the noise guy? He was not very well spoken and not sure I even follow what he was talking about. My understanding from last night is that 2 of the people on the wind turbine sub-committee don't even support the by-law, right? What' that about?

At April 24, 2009 at 10:12 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


Mr Cohn was the main objector along with Mr. O'Neil. It was Mr. Cohn who just went over the edge in his attempt to demonize the By-Law as not being strong enough to keep wind turbines out of Town. He gave to Carol a list of additions that the Planning Board will review and perhaps add or drop.

Some of the proposals I heard Mr. Cohn present were just outlandish and were clearly designed to prevent all wind turbines from Town, no matter what their size.

I don't have a feel for how the Planning Board will receive this and if they will support this by-law or not.

I still contend, that any prohibition that prevent a homeowner from capturing the wind on their property, violates our basic rights and should be rejected.

By the way, there is nothing to prevent anyone from installing a wind turbine now on their property, but if the By-Law were to be adopted, only a select few in Town will be able to capture the wind and that's what needs to be changed.

I'm not, not in favor of some regulations. I agree with most of them and Dawn did a great deal of work on the presentation. What was missing was the small and micro wind systems. They don't go 250 feet in the air and are no bigger than a flag on a flag pole.

I'm not sure at all what will come of the descent among the two in the Wind Turbine By-Law committee. I can't imagine, the Town Meeting members will send that article back for stronger regulations but I do think, they could send it back for personal use issue's, at which time it could come back in the Fall for another vote.

It may be time for me to move next door to Mr. Cohn and practice with the band 5 nights a week.

At April 24, 2009 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job last night Jim. Glad to see you are someone who follows through and actually showed up at the meeting. I did notice that not everyone on the committee is even on board with this by-law, so hopefully, that will help it not get approved. These small wind turbines you mentioned last night, how do I find out about them? I am not interested in putting some big giant turbine with blades on my roof, but something small would be worth considering.

At April 24, 2009 at 1:13 PM , Blogger Worried 01701 said...

Wind turbines are going to be the way of the future, so we either come up with a by-law that recognizes that, or we get left behind. Seems to be a battle brewing on this one. Hope you are up for it Pillsbury. You seem to know your stuff in this area, so those of us who don't are counting on you to make sure the by-law is fair and keeps us safe. Nothing is perfect, but we should not settle for what we know is not good just to get something on the books. I think restricting residential use, but allowing them in a residential area on a school, is pretty hypocritical. If they are not safe, then who is saying it is ok for them to be where we send our most prized possesions, our children? Someone has to explain the logic of that to me.

At April 24, 2009 at 5:19 PM , Blogger fed up in framingham said...

Good information for everyone to have. Thanks for keeping us informed. I did not even know there was a question on the Town Meeting agenda about turbines. Somehow, we have to devise a better system for informing Framingham residents about what is going on. This is not on the town website that I can find, and not everyone knows about his blog as a source. Saw you on local access last night. Good to see you back on tv, even if it was only for this.

At April 26, 2009 at 11:09 AM , Blogger SoxFan said...

Jim, I can't tell, is TOm O'Neil for or against this bylaw? How the hell can we decide if the committee cant even figure it out?

At April 26, 2009 at 12:10 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


The skinny on this By-Law is that it is changing, it appears. Mr. O'Neil and Mr. Cohn seem to be maneuvering with all the parliamentary tricks to get stronger regulations on wind turbines, as I've been told by a committee member.

As noted in the paper today, Mr. O'Neil claims not to be against wind turbines, but for stronger regulation of electricity generators.

The fear among some supporters is that if the By-Law were to be sent back for clarity, it would come up next time with more and stronger regulations. I'm not totally convinced, but I don't have my finger on the pulse of Town Meeting members as some do. And as we all know, some Town Meeting members may not represent the views of the majority of residents in Town.

I kick myself in the ass for not being involved with this more in the beginning as a majority of facts have been ignored or not stated.

I'm at a crossroads with this. The Town needs to get on the band wagon with wind energy, now. My rights to the wind on my property would be reduced to mounting something on my house, but not allowing me a free standing 30' pole in my yard. Public buildings would be allowed, and so would industrial zoned areas.

Mr. Cohn is disseminating propaganda to TM members as we speak and could offer up strong amendments which would eliminate any possibility of any wind turbines in Town.

The Planning Board will meet again on Monday and I will be there to see what they want to add to the By-Law, if anything. Or, they may choose to eliminate pieces of home owner residential use. They may also decide not to support the By-law...

I'm sorry to report, the issue is not as clear as it once was. I've made a commitment to support the By-law, in it's present form, only if we can include home owner (free standing use) in the fall. But if any further restrictions were to be added or offered up as amendments, I will not support it.

At April 27, 2009 at 10:20 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


I was informed by Town Clerk Val Mulvey, by phone at 5PM today, of a public meeting that Tom O'Neil had called for the wind turbine by-law reveiw. This was to vote on Mr. Cohn's additions to the By-Law. Mr. O'Neil told Val, he would call me to let me know... which never happened.

Mr. O Neil apologies to everyone and states that the meeting is not a legal meeting, because of the lack of public notice. One member of this committee asked to have a straw vote taken on the issue's and if anyone wanted to, they could have the right to call it an illegal meeting.

What democracy....

The discussion was centered around the paper submitted by Mr. Cohn to the Planning Board last Thursday night. This excessive in futility went on for 15 minutes and some at the table asked why we even need a wind turbine By-Law and if the next meeting on May 4th would be enough time to go over the By-Law before Town Meeting. That would leave a day or two for TMM's to read it, supposed to be 21 days, before Town Meeting.

I'd did appear that the hard liners were leaning towards refinement and letting it go to the Fall meeting.

So, either they pull it back voluntarily or it goes back to them via Town Meeting.

If Mr. Cohn's additions are adopted by the committee's, wind turbines will never be allowed in Town under any circumstances and should be defeated.

We do this again. May 4th.


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