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Court says Fairhaven wind developers must be added to suit

FAIRHAVEN – A New Bedford Superior Court judge upheld a motion to have developers Fairhaven Wind LLC added to a civil suit Thursday after Fairhaven’s wind project was unexpectedly in court again.

“Right now, the whole case is stayed until Fairhaven Wind is added as a party,” said Fairhaven Town Counsel Thomas Crotty of the judge’s decision.

The suit opposes a plan to build two approximately 400-foot wind turbines on town-owned land off Arsene Street and was filed Dec. 23 by 22 plaintiffs. Named defendants included the town of Fairhaven, its selectmen and Building Commissioner Wayne Fostin.

But Crotty, who filed the emergency motion to stay proceedings, said developers Fairhaven Wind LLC need to be part of legal actions because they have an obvious interest in proceedings. The suit targets the legality of both the town’s lease and the building permit, both of which are with Fairhaven Wind LLC, he said.

“They put up a lot of money; they started construction … and here comes some third party, the neighbors, saying they want to void the lease,” said Crotty. “(Fairhaven Wind) ought to be heard on it.”

Crotty said the judge’s decision means DeNardis and plaintiffs must refile their complaint naming Fairhaven Wind LLC and serve papers to the LLC. If it can be done in time, an already scheduled Jan. 3 court date may still happen, he said.

Plaintiff Ken Pottel called today’s decision a minor setback.

“Their motion to include Fairhaven Wind LLC as part of the defendants was granted by the judge,” said Pottel. “(But) they wanted to get it extended beyond Tuesday and that was denied.”

Pottel said attorney Ann DeNardis will refile the complaint today and notify Fairhaven Wind.

“We’re disappointed because our issue is with the town, not the LLC,” he added.