Turning the wind into a communities benefit. It’s happening. The Falmouth wind turbine project at the wastewater treatment plant does this in spades. One existing service is treating community wastewater, while the other provides, either directly or through a “credit” process, electricity for municipal demand, and in so doing, saves the community money. Both provide a municipal purpose for community benefit. To a certain extent, the rebate proposed by New Generation has the same effect.
There is a fracture and a flaw in this concept however, when not all in the community realize the benefit. Or realize too late.
Acknowledging reasonable annoyance and inconvenience are acceptable losses when weighed against the whole of community good. Or, in the case of Bourne, the acceptable losses are made back by a set price for inconvenience and annoyance. The question becomes, what are the non-acceptable? What justice or amount of money could swing the balance of public benefit toward public fairness?
Herein lies the question. Does a reasonable annoyance or inconvenience cause a gentle man and his wife to stand in the company of their Falmouth community and, through their tears, imply they’re going to kill themselves because they are at their wits’ end? Is this circumstance, being played out in more than one Falmouth residence along Blacksmith Shop Road, a reasonable residual effect when weighed against the whole of the community benefit?
At the Falmouth Zoning Board of appeals hearing concerning the town bypass of the special permit process for Wind1, the Mission Statement of the Board of Appeals was read. “As the Board of last resort and relief, the town and its citizens must take comfort in an approach which is open minded, sensible and fair.” I would surmise Bourne echoes a similar sentiment.
Fair? Is a neighbor’s torment that extends well beyond reasonable annoyance or inconvenience fair? Is it ethically fair for Bourne town officials to not take issue with the dangling of a carrot in front of community neighbors, whose budgets may be on the brink?
After this hearing, I’m left with little comfort. The wholeness of our community (and I mean Cape Cod) seems, somehow not as whole, without better attention to the truer meaning of being fair. A society’s laws are only as good as the wits they keep about them.
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