Dartmouth residents may be unaware there are now two sites identified for the industrial size wind turbines at the wastewater treatment facility: the original Chase Road location and a new Russells Mills Road site, closer to the Braga Memorial Drive access road.
Consequently, it’s possible residents along Russells Mills Road/Gulf Road West could unknowingly find themselves affected by the noise and shadow/flicker from the turbines, where previously they might not have been.
And, with FAA approval, the town may increase the original 80-meter blade to a 90-meter blade, further affecting noise and shadow/flicker.
Studies have shown long-term adverse health issues from wind turbines unsuitable for location in populated areas. The wind power industry and those anxious to see turbines constructed in Dartmouth will discredit these studies and declare the health problems as minimal, despite contradictory testimonials worldwide.
Residents might want to research the documented health problems developed from living under turbines, rather than accept as gospel,reassuring statements of turbine safety from individuals who tout community greening and financial gain at some future date.
In 2010, Town Meeting eliminated the need for a special permit for turbine construction, along with legally required notification of immediate abutters, and the holding of public hearings. The amended bylaw essentially makes it easier for turbine construction in locations that residents would likely oppose, namely, close to their homes.
The town also has the option to lease land, thus increasing the potential number of qualified sites for their construction.
A map of abutters within 300 feet of the turbine property line and studies of noise and shadow/flicker are posted on the town’s website, www.town.dartmouth.ma.us. Residents might want to check if there is even the slightest possibility that their homes could be affected. Copies of these documents can also be requested from the Select Board’s office.
The map identifies only immediate abutters, however, and not abutters of abutters, so there is no definitive identification of all possible affected addresses.
Ideally, abutters of abutters would be notified of such life-altering construction as turbines, but such notification is likely cost-prohibitive and might not even be a government requirement on any level.
A wind turbine is no ordinary structure, however. Its repercussions go beyond mere annoyance and inconvenience.
The magnitude of an industrial-size turbine with the potential to disrupt lives and affect health located in anyone’s backyard merits everyone’s attention, if only to illustrate how lives can change dramatically by the decisions of others, in this instance, locating turbines where residents live.
The town is considering placing the new turbine location as an agenda item for discussion and comment at a future Select Board meeting. (Check weekly under “Select Board’s Agendas” to determine when it will be addressed.)
It will not be the exclusive agenda item discussed at the meeting.
However, it could be the only opportunity residents will have to familiarize themselves with the town’s plans to locate these turbines near their homes.
More than ever, it is incumbent on Dartmouth residents to remain well informed of what is happening in their neighborhoods.
What a sad commentary on our community when people’s lives take a back seat to whatever is “politically correct” at the moment. How unconscionable that finances apparently take precedence over their well-being. How disturbing that our residents are forced to fight for their right to live in serenity in their own homes.
It is difficult to find any measure of altruism in such situations.
The Select Board and the Board of Health have the primary responsibility to oversee the safety and well-being of residents. The Select Board needs to factor in the Board of Health’s judgment and conclusions from the documentation and information it has studied with respect to the effects of turbines on human life and health, even while it evaluates technology, progress and greening for the town.
The judgment of the Board of Health in its dedication to the well-being of Dartmouth’s residents should be significantly valued by the Select Board as it continues its decision-making to construct turbines where people stand to be harmed. The Select Board owes this to the residents.
Site location for turbines in Dartmouth should not automatically be dismissed as “Not in My Backyard” – NIMBYism – as some claim.
The most vocal opponents of the Dartmouth turbines, those in the original Chase Road neighborhood site, are not opposed to turbines. They are against having them located improperly in residential areas. It is a matter of preserving the quality of life and health that any person, anywhere, rightfully deserves.
Turbines in Dartmouth aren’t the issue. Proper location is.
Residents in Dartmouth need to know where these turbines may be located in the future and be prepared if they are sited in their neighborhood, as the town strives to save energy and money.
Beverly Days lives in Dartmouth.
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