Wind power, historic preservation continue to clash on Cape Cod

WEST BARNSTABLE, Mass. — History may judge Cape Cod renewable-energy initiatives sooner than many expected.

Although the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm is the most prominent example of conflict between history and renewable-energy efforts, less well-known projects face scrutiny from historic preservation advocates across the Cape.

Towns: Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, Orleans
In 2007 the Hyannis Main Street Waterfront Historic District stymied convenience store magnate and current gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos' effort to install wind turbines at a gas station on Ocean Street.

In August a Dennis historic district committee narrowly approved allowing the police department to install solar power on its rooftop amid concerns about maintenance and appropriate screening from the road.

Most recently a turbine project at Cape Cod Community College was held up after the Old King's Highway Historic District Committee required that the college seek the district's approval before proceeding.

The college is waiting for a decision on how to proceed from the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management, the agency responsible for construction projects on state-managed property, college spokesman Michael Gross said.

While piles of dirt surround a large hole on the West Barnstable campus where the college planned to install the 600-kilowatt turbine, historic preservation committees across the Cape continue to grapple with their role in a changing political and technological landscape.

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