KINGSTON – Residents were surprised Monday night to learn that an acoustical study commissioned by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center would only test sound levels from the Independence wind turbine and not Mary O’Donnell’s three turbines, as well.
Board of Health members also say they were surprised the scope of the study only covers the turbine on the town’s capped landfill owned by Kingston Wind Independence. They voted to have the study expanded to include the three turbines on Marion Drive.
When the board next meets, Jan. 14, it’s expected there will be a vote on whether to order an immediate shutdown of all four wind turbines pending the results of studies on noise and flicker.
Less than a week before Monday night’s meeting, the Board of Selectmen declared that the Board of Health, not the selectmen, could order the immediate shutdown as a nuisance in keeping with state law.
Board of Health member Dan Sapir opened the meeting seeking a vote of the board for a temporary shutdown, saying he was creating a motion on the advice of the selectmen. That did not happen Monday night, despite protests from residents who asked that an emergency meeting be called immediately. Many left the meeting unhappy with another delay, expressing their dismay.
Town counsel Lisa Mead advised that a vote on shutting the turbines down was not on the agenda for the night and that taking action would be in violation of Open Meeting Law. She also advised against calling an immediate emergency meeting.
Sapir said it was shortsighted of the board to not allow for a potential vote on the agenda knowing what the selectmen said.
“I like to feel I’m part of the team, and I feel I’m being left out of a couple of innings,” he said.
At attempt to schedule a meeting for a vote Thursday night failed. Residents dismissed Board of Health member Jack Breen’s argument that the owners of the four turbines should be notified of the potential for such a vote. However, several key witnesses could not attend Thursday night.
Leland Road resident Doreen Reilly said she left the selectmen’s meeting thinking the Board of Health would take action Monday night and was disappointed when no vote to shut the turbines down immediately, at least until their concerns have been properly addressed, was taken.
“The Board of Health is not taking control of the situation,” she said, adding that she doesn’t feel good about a study that the wind developer requested, even if the CEC is paying for the study. “The DEP needs to do the compliance testing.”
“How do I feel comfortable with that?” she said. “I want an independent acoustical study done if they’re going to do a study.”
The purpose of Monday night’s meeting, according to the agenda, was to discuss the scope of the Kingston Independence turbine sound study, with the public invited to offer input into the parameters of the study. The agenda was duly noticed, appearing on the town’s website and on the notice board at the Town House. Nowhere does it mention O’Donnell’s turbines.
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