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Board of Health hears complaint about wind turbines

FAIRHAVEN – The Board of Health heard an emotional appeal from Karen Isherwood Monday night about the “adverse health effects” she’s suffering from the wind turbines.

“Right now, I’m reaching out to you desperately,” she said.

Ms. Isherwood said the turbines have exacerbated an existing health condition. She said she’s more tired and suffering sleep deprivation. At times, she said, the sound of the turbines is like a jet plane.

Chairman Peter DeTerra and newly elected member Dr. Barbara Acksen expressed sympathy but said it was too soon to ask the turbine developer to make any adjustments or changes.

Mr. DeTerra said they were using the complaint form “to pinpoint hot spots.”

After the meeting, Ms. Acksen said there are geographic “clusters” in the complaints they’ve received so far. The turbines have been up and running for a few weeks.

Health agent Patricia Fowle said she’d like to make adjustments to the form, such as letting the sender know it was received and asking if the information could be shared with Sumul Shah of Solaya, one of the developers involved in Fairhaven Wind LLC.

Board members said they should not give the developer the names of people who submitted complaints, just the information.

Ms. Fowle said, “Some are very descriptive” on the complaint form, providing the location of the blades, wind speed and time of day.

Ms. Acksen said the location should be shared “because the turbines can be adjusted and that’s some of the mitigation other towns have done.”

She added, “I’d be comfortable with providing clustered information to Mr. Shah so he can adjust them.”

Ms. Isherwood said when there is little wind, she’s not bothered by the turbines. “It’s more about the velocity, the wind.”

John Methia, who lives on Shawmut Street, said he’s been affected even though he lives 2,000 feet away. He said the sound travels across the marsh and has woken his son up at night. He described the effect as being “walloped.”

Mr. Methia said the turbine developers should be treated like any other noisy business. If it was a nightclub, he said, they’d been shut down after certain hours.