On Feb. 17 John Leonard wrote a commentary in support of the Turkey Hill turbine proposed by The Trustees of Reservations. He seems incredulous that anyone would oppose this project.
Like most of the other neighbors who would be living in the shadow of the turbine, I am in favor of alternative energy and wind turbines in particular, but only when they are properly sited away from residential areas.
Mr. Leonard provided cogent evidence in support of the broader need for alternative energy, but he did not attempt to defend this particular proposed location.
Having spent more than one evening going door-to-door to discuss this issue with neighbors of the turbine site, I can state that I have met only two who do not oppose the project, and one of these was completely unaware that the turbine would create noise and disturb her sunlight.
The neighbors affected by the proposed wind turbine have four key reasons for opposing the construction of the turbine in this location:
1) Flicker: The proposed turbine has an unwelcome effect upon our homes by imposing strobe-like flicker on our families. As TTOR staffers admitted at their Feb. 7 meeting at Glastonbury Abbey, flicker is not merely an irritant, it can cause dizziness and nausea. TTOR project planners have suggested that we residents install blackout shades on our homes to protect from the impact of flicker. This seems an unfair intrusion upon our homes and our quality of life.
2) Sound: Everyone agrees that the proposed turbine will create noise for the neighbors. According to the sound studies submitted by TTOR engineers, the levels will meet state guidelines. However, they have not studied the issue of sub-sonic sound (the whomp-whomp sensation of air being moved by the enormous blades), and according to reports from residents in other areas affected by turbines of this size, this sub-sonic sound is the key factor in disturbing the sleep of nearby residents.
Because of ever increasing awareness of the negative consequences of locating turbines near residential areas, many bodies with more experience in turbine siting have been applying increasingly stringent standards. For example, see the February 2011 standards adopted by the Planning and Regulatory Sub-committee of the Cape Cod Commission. They have mandated a noise set back of 10 times the overall height of installed turbines. If applied to the Turkey Hill turbine, this would require a 4,100 feet distance from the nearest residential dwelling, which is more than four times the distance anticipated by the current proposal.
These new guidelines have also stipulated that shadow flicker upon residences must be limited to 15 minutes a day or 10 hours per year. Again, the Turkey Hill turbine is imposing up to one hour per day and 84 hours per year upon nearby residences, with the Golden Living facility being one of the most prominent victims.
By the statement of one of the members of the Cohasset Planning Board at the public meeting on Feb. 9, the extent of flicker imposed upon neighbors by this turbine violates Cohasset’s bylaws that do not allow for a “significant” impact upon nearby residences.
3) Safety Concerns: At this same Feb. 9 meeting of the Planning Board, the town engineer described it as “fundamentally incompatible” to have an industrial turbine located at a recreational site. There are significant safety concerns about the turbine, particularly relating to winter “ice throw” potentially harming those who are hiking in the area.
4) Financial impact: As board member Charles Samuelson noted at the Feb. 9 meeting of the Planning Board, there is cogent evidence in the official record of the Planning Board that the turbine will have a detrimental impact on the value of nearby homes, and no evidence has been supplied to prove otherwise.
We are deeply concerned about this particular point.
These issues, when combined with our larger sense of the unfair nature of the proposed site of the turbine, motivate our opposition. The turbine would be located in one town (that has voted for wind power), but the effects would fall upon homeowners in our town that has not similarly voted for wind. Many of us purchased homes in this location to be near the protected land of Turkey Hill, and are dismayed at sudden plans to develop the land. Others are upset that TTOR, which has the stated goal of protecting nature, is suddenly polluting our sunlight, adding unwelcome noise to our homes, and imposing a 41-story visual blight upon our neighborhood.
We can appreciate and support TTOR’s laudable goal to become carbon neutral; however, this particular proposed site is unsuitable given the unwelcome impact upon the nearby residents. We are astonished at the degree to which the TTOR plan demonstrates a lack of concern for affected homeowners.
Dr. Stephen Shoemaker lives at 275 East St.