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Golfers rule as arbitrator makes a point about “as of right” siting

February 9, 2013

Golfers at the Granite Links course in Quincy have put the Milton turbine on pause for months at a time because of the ruling by retired judge Gordon Doerfer. Binding arbitration, ordered in the suit between Quarry Hills Associates and the town of Milton, came down to the ruling by the former state appeals court judge. Lane Lambert reported on Doerfer’s decision in the Patriot Ledger, “Judge says Milton must limit operation hours for proposed wind turbine.”

He said the turbine could be operated round the clock from Nov. 16 to March 31, but only at nighttime and predawn hours during the April 1-Nov. 15 golf season.

In his ruling, Doerfer noted

…Milton violated “taking” provisions when Town Meeting voted in 2010 that a turbine could be built on town-owned land “as of right.” He said that action sidestepped “all of the controls that a developer normally has to fulfill.”

As of right” siting is a hallmark of the Green Communities program. Developers have used the principle to avoid notifying abutters, to exempt projects from review by town boards, and to bypass public hearings. It has led to charges that turbines have been improperly sited in Kingston.

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