FAIRHAVEN – Neighbors opposed to the siting of two 262-foot wind turbines off Arsene Street vowed Monday to file suit to stop the project.
“We’ll be in court,” said Ken Pottel, a member of Windwise, a group of about 30 residents opposed to the turbines. “We’ll do everything we need to do. We feel we have a good case.”
Pottel said he was planning to meet with the group’s attorney, Ann Denardis of New Bedford, Monday night to discuss the case.
Pottel said he didn’t know the town was proceeding with the turbines until last week when he learned about site clearing work. He said he thought the project was dropped in April 2009 after neighbors filed suit in Bristol County Superior Court.
Denardis could not be reached for comment Monday.
Pottel said neighbors are opposed to the turbines because they emit low-level noises that they say could affect some people’s health.
Town Counsel Thomas P. Crotty said the developer, CCI, dropped a special permit request for the turbines and Judge Robert Cosgrove dismissed the case in Superior Court.
Neighbors, however, retained their rights if the developer ever sought a renewal of the special permit, according to the judge’s ruling.
Crotty said the town decided to proceed with the turbines as a municipal project, negating any need for a special permit from the town’s Planning Board.
He said the town obtained a building permit and has begun site clearing work.
He said the neighbors, if they wish to oppose the project, must first challenge the building inspector’s decision. They can also appeal the building inspector’s decision to the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals and then can file a lawsuit in Superior Court.
Fairhaven Executive Secretary Jeffrey Osuch said Monday the turbines are being shipped to Fairhaven from China and are scheduled to arrive in January.
He said the goal is to have the turbines erected and operating sometime in the first quarter of next year, although the timetable could be pushed back.
Osuch said the town obtained permits to do the site clearing work from the Conservation Commission and state Department of Environmental Protection.
He said the site work started last week and the tree clearing was finished Monday. He said workers still must pull up stumps and remove rocks.
He said no notice was given neighbors and none is required.
Pottel said he agrees that notice isn’t required, but he wishes he and other members of Windwise had been notified.
“It doesn’t make it right,” he said. “To me it would have been nice for them to be a little more transparent.”
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