The proposed wind turbine on Ashburnham’s Blood Hill has neighboring residents worried about its effects, including noise, lowered property values and potential health problems, they said this week.
Ginger Wall and her husband, Tom Wallerstein, brought their concerns to the members of the Ashby Board of Selectmen Wednesday night and said the site of the wind farm can be seen from their Whitney Street backyard. They are among a handful of residents in town who have joined together to voice their reservations about the project.
According to Stan Herriott, manager of the Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant, the project has been in the works since 2003, and he is tentatively looking to put two turbines on Blood Hill, off Byfield Road.
“We just moved here in December, and I really didn’t know anything about it until a neighbor of mine came up to me two weeks ago and mentioned it to me,” Wall said. “It was news to me. After going through things on the Internet and seeing what is going on with people who are living with them across the country, my feelings completely changed. It seems like a nice thing, but they’re called industrial wind turbines for a reason.”
A wind turbine converts kinetic energy from wind into mechanical energy, which is then turned into electricity. The wind turbines that are being proposed in Ashburnham would be
about 250 feet tall with three 135-foot long blades, each weighing six tons.
Wall cited the size of the turbines as a major concern, along with the ground vibrations they could cause, in addition to potential health issues.
“There are reports of people who live directly in the path of these things that have severe migraines, severe sleep deprivation, and just a whole bunch of issues,” Wall said.
While people do argue the potential health issues, Herriott said he has not seen any research to support health problems being related to wind turbines.
Wall also said the noise factor was a concern she had, but Herriott said that wind turbines aren’t as loud as people think they are.
“I’ve gone up to Mount Wachusett Community College and have been right under them, and you could barely hear them. What the experts say is that if you’re at least 1,500 feet away from the turbines, you won’t hear them,” he said.
Wall said she believes Ashby residents will be more affected than Ashburnham residents.
“It’s not going to affect anyone in Ashburnham. It’s going to affect a lot of people in Ashby,” Wall said. “If they are the ones benefiting from it, they should be putting it where people won’t be affected.”
Dan Meunier and Joseph Casey, the two members of the Ashby Board of Selectmen in attendance at Wednesday night’s meeting, said the item would most likely be on a future meeting agenda.
Herriott said he encourages people with concerns to contact him.
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