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Wind power out for now

The Planning and Zoning Commission’s rejection of a plan to use wind power for the generation of electricity in Winchester came as a sign that the town isn’t quite ready to think outside the box when it comes to new energy projects — but that time is coming.

The commission voted 4-1 Monday to reject a proposal by the town’s Water and Sewer Commission to install a wind turbine at its Crystal Lake water treatment facility. The turbine, made by Torrington-based Optiwind, would have been used to provide supplementary power to the water plant, saving taxpayers money on the town’s electric bill.

Unfortunately, a legal review of the proposal was not produced in a timely fashion, while members of the Planning and Zoning Commission have yet to finalize the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), which will include updated standards for land use in town.

On Monday night, Planning and Zoning commissioners said they wanted to wait until the POCD is completed and questions regarding current regulations are completely answered. Legitimate concerns have been raised regarding the visibility of the proposed turbine, along with questions regarding the use of turbines on private properties in town and how zoning regulations would be applied across the board.

While the rejection of the turbine plan is a disappointment, similar plans are bound to come up in the future and will eventually be approved. Hopefully Optiwind and other companies will continue to work with local officials on drafting new plans that are friendly to both taxpayers and the environment.

For now, the inability to make headway should serve as a reminder that Winchester needs to expedite the approval of its POCD, with an eye on the future of energy-related technology.

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