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Another turbine draws opposition in Falmouth

FALMOUTH – Another week, another turbine.

A handful of frustrated Falmouth residents complained to the zoning board of appeals last week about excessive noise from a town-owned wind turbine off Blacksmith Shop Road. On Thursday, some of the same people were back before the board protesting a new commercial turbine proposed in the same area.

The JK Scanlan Co. is seeking a special permit to build a 225-kilowatt turbine that would help power its 11,800-square-foot facility in the Falmouth Technology Park. But with two larger, 1.65-megawatt turbines in the same general area, some residents said three would be a crowd.

“Is the public sufficiently protected by this application? I would say it is not,” said Mark Cool, who lives near the town-owned turbine off Blacksmith Shop Road.

But John Scanlan, owner of the company, said this turbine is “much, much smaller” than the town’s turbine, known as Wind I, and the Notus Clean Energy wind turbine that would be approximately 1,000 feet away.

The proposed Aeronautica turbine, which Scanlan said will cost approximately $700,000, is roughly half the size of the 400-foot-tall Wind I and Notus, said Robert Ament, Scanlan’s attorney, and would produce seven times as much energy.

Scanlan has already performed several tests, including noise studies that show an increase in the ambient noise level by 2 decibels at the nearest residence, 1,300 feet away.

“Flicker” studies were also performed, Ament said, and the nearest homes can expect, at worst, less than three hours per year of annoying shadows from the spinning blades.

The zoning board voted to continue the hearing until Jan. 27.

The board’s hesitancy stems not only from resident complaints, but the Falmouth Planning Board’s recent recommendation to send a one-year moratorium on all wind turbine applications to voters at April’s town meeting.

The planning board also recommended allowing the Cape Cod Commission to have added oversight on the siting of turbines.

Zoning appeals board chairman Matt McNamara asked Scanlan to produce for next month’s meeting a formal process for handling complaints, a plan in case the turbine needs to be dismantled and a study showing how the flicker will affect drivers.