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Lyme boards approach decision on wind turbine setbacks, noise limits

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CHAUMONT — Lyme town officials have agreed tentatively on setbacks and new noise limits for private wind turbines.

Lyme’s Planning Board, which was given the task to draft laws for residential wind, solar and biomass energy development, originally considered a property line setback of 25 times the height of a turbine.

However, the setback was reduced by Town Council members, who have the final say, to five times the height of a structure, said town Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine.

Mr. Aubertine has said the small wind law should not be overly restrictive and Lyme property owners should be allowed to reduce their energy bills through these renewable energy projects as long as the structures do not threaten the safety of their neighbors and the public.

Height and other limitations still have to be established, but officials are considering noise limits of 35 decibels at night — from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. — and 50 decibels during the day.

While there are no minimum acreage requirements, landowners who cannot meet the proposed setback requirements because of smaller parcel sizes can file for a special-use permit or variance to be reviewed by the Zoning Board of Appeals, Mr. Aubertine said.

Before any of these proposed restrictions on “small wind” or other renewable energy developments can be added to town law, the council would have to gather public input at a hearing.

If all goes as planned, Mr. Aubertine said, the Town Council could set a public hearing date at its February meeting.

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