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Neighbors claim no notice provided for turbine clearing work

FAIRHAVEN – A group of neighbors opposed to two proposed 80-meter wind turbines complained Friday about a lack of public notice on work being done to clear the site.

“The thing that gets me is there’s no hearing, no information,” said Ken Pottel, a member of Windwise, a group of about 30 neighbors opposed to the project.

“Why isn’t there a hearing? People need to know. It (the site clearing) was a surprise. It’s not being done the right way,” said Pottel, who lives in Little Bay.

He said wind turbines cause low-level noise that affect some people’s health.

He said he’s upset with the site clearing because when neighbors filed a lawsuit against the project in Bristol County Superior Court both sides agreed to a stay of the proceedings.

Fairhaven Selectman Brian Bowcock said he didn’t know what or if notification of the site clearing was given, but added that Pottel is “misinformed,” saying the court case was dismissed.

The Standard-Times couldn’t determine the status of the court case because the courts were closed for Veterans Day.

Workers from two firms, Faustino and Sons Land Clearing of Rochester and PKM Inc. Contractors of Dennis, were clearing the site on Friday.

The clearing work was being done on both sides of the bicycle path and the section near the construction work was closed to public use.

There were about 25 logs, measuring about 30 feet in length in a pile, along with four pieces of heavy machinery and several piles of tree limbs and debris on the site.

Bowcock said the project is part of a public-private partnership and the turbines are currently on their way to the U.S. from China and will be erected next month or in January.

After test borings were done last month, he said, workers began pulling out tree stumps and clearing the site where the foundations will be constructed for the turbines.

“It has been going on for a couple of weeks now,” he said of the site work. “I don’t know why they would be upset.”

Bowcock said selectmen regularly discuss the wind turbine project at their meetings.

“This is not something we have pulled out of our hat,” he said.

Under a 20-year agreement with CCI, the developer, Fairhaven is leasing the land and the town will receive the net metering credits from NStar. The town has the option for a 5-year extension.