A bus trip to a wind turbine in Falmouth, Mass., confirmed Prospect residents’ concerns that the proposed wind farm in Prospect would be a nuisance to the surrounding neighborhood.
The two wind turbines proposed by BNE Energy, Inc. would be installed at 178 New Haven Road in Prospect and generate 25 percent of the town’s residential electric needs, according to BNE’s petition.
About 35 residents and officials trekked to Massachusetts on Saturday to observe a wind turbine in action.
Prospect Mayor Bob Chatfield had never seen a wind turbine before he visited the one in Falmouth. After looking at the windmill itself, the group went to the residential area behind it.
“We could hear the windmill in the back yards of these folks,” he said.
The turbines are under the jurisdiction of Connecticut Siting Council and the town of Prospect has no control over them, Chatfield said.
Tim Reilly, whose home is about 1,800 feet from the proposed north turbine in Prospect, is gearing up for a fight. His group, Save Prospect Corp., was recently registered as a non-profit.
The group, according to Reilly, is not against renewable energy, but it does oppose placing the turbines close to Route 69 and residential neighborhoods.
Reilly had visited the Falmouth site before, but this time he was moved by the emotional stories of about 40 Falmouth residents who met the bus group, he said.
“This actually allowed people to put faces to stories. …These people have absolutely no reason to lie to us,” he said.
The Falmouth residents complained of constant noise and shadow flicker caused by the rising and setting sun passing through the blades.
“You just have this flickering, whooshing madness,” Reilly said.
Some residents said they could no longer enjoy the outdoors during the summer and had to shutter their windows against the noise, according to Reilly.
He said that one Vietnam Veteran with post traumatic stress disorder could no longer garden because of pressure from inaudible low-frequency sound waves.
“It was heart-wrenching,” Reilly said.
In addition to concerns about noise and shadow flicker, Reilly said he was worried about ground water being affected when BNE starts digging the base. A nearby brownfield could contaminate drinking water in local wells, he said.
Alyssa Klancic went on the trip to cover it for the Woodland Regional High School newspaper.
“I thought the arguments they were making were really good, but I only heard one side,” she said.
Klancic said even though it wasn’t a windy day, she could hear the turbines.
“It did sound like a jet hovering overhead,” she said.
Falmouth residents advised the citizens of Prospect not to get swindled into letting BNE push through its plans, Klancic said.
The Prospect residents who went on the trip had already made up their minds on where they stood on the issue, Klancic noted.
“If anything, this just solidified their decision to stay against it,” she said.
BNE has filed a petition for an expedited decision from the Connecticut Siting Council within 60 days, which Save Prospect Corp. is fighting to delay.
“We feel like it’s slam-dunk denial by the State Siting Council… But we’re doing our homework and we’re going to fight,” Reilly said.
According to Reilly, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (3rd District) already sent a letter to Linda Roberts, executive director at Connecticut Siting Council, demanding a local public hearing, which is not usually granted under the expedited process.
Reilly also said state Rep. Vicky Nardello (89th District) spoke with Roberts and reported that Roberts assured her there would be a local public hearing.
Opponents of the wind turbine will voice their opinions at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Wednesday night.
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