December 1, 2011
Massachusetts, Opinions

Fairhaven turbines’ cost to neighborhood will be too high

By Joyce Pottel, 1 December 2011

Here we go again. Only this time it is even more outrageous than before. Fairhaven’s three selectmen, Brian Bowcock, Michael Silvia and Charles Murphy have unanimously voted to allow developer Jim Sweeney to bring two mammoth 400-foot wind turbines to Fairhaven with total disregard for the health and safety of the nearby adults and children in the neighborhoods.

I am incredulous that our town officials have decided to pursue this project with full knowledge that a Falmouth turbine has been shut down because of the harm to residents by the noise pollution. I am also reminded of the shadow flicker, ice flings near the bike path, and lowered property values, which we presented to them before. I am sure that our selectmen were also aware that the town of Dartmouth voted unanimously on Oct. 24 to terminate plans to build two wind turbines on public land.

I have no idea as to why our town officials would continue a project that would be detrimental to the citizens they were voted to represent. Executive Secretary Jeffrey Osuch, staunch supporter of the project, stated that no notice was given to neighbors and none is required. In other words, the residents of Fairhaven have no say.

If town leaders can act arbitrarily behind closed doors, then we are all at risk. Are you comfortable having three selectmen having the power to make decisions in private executive sessions concerning matters of your public safety and property without having a voice? I am not. Credibility is lost especially when Mr. Bowcock stated (Advocate, Jan. 17, 2008) “It’s hard to see (turbines) from the bike path. Unless you are in an open area the trees obscure the view.” No one would agree with that statement. This leads one to wonder how much knowledge the selectmen actually had to base their decision on.

We have done hours and hours of research and have documentation of the severity of the harm from the noise of the turbines to nearby neighborhoods. The Fairhaven Conservation Commission Chairman Andrew Jones was also made aware of Falmouth problems at the Sept. 12 meeting when Bruce Babbott, representative of the developer, stated that the Falmouth wind turbine project revealed some problems. When stated that a turbine location had to be changed, Mr. Jones said a change in plans would require a new public hearing. Of course that did not happen.

I believe that if given the correct information, ultimately the citizens of this quaint, historic town of Fairhaven would want what is best for everyone. It does not matter whether we live near the turbines or not. Ultimately, we care what happens in this town and what happens to our neighbors.

It is interesting that on Sept 20, 2010, at a selectmen’s meeting Mr. Bowcock, Mr. Silvia and Mr. Murphy voted unanimously to prohibit a T-Mobile cell phone tower in the neighborhood of Long Road because it was agreed it wasn’t the right place. To quote Mr. Murphy, “Sometimes the cost of a good neighborhood is priceless.”

I believe that all those adults and children in the neighborhoods surrounding the two 400-foot turbines feel the same way. They deserve the same respect. The cost of a good neighborhood is priceless. This is not the right place for turbines.

Joyce Pottel lives in Fairhaven.

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