FALMOUTH – The public will have its say on the town’s wind turbines at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23 – when the Falmouth Board of Selectmen will solicit public comments before it votes on how to proceed with regards to Falmouth’s two turbines, Wind 1 and Wind 2, located at the Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Facility.
A Jan. 18 joint meeting between the Wind Turbines Options Analysis Process (WTOP) and the Falmouth Board of Selectmen, presented four options to selectmen: Full operation of the turbines, curtail the running hours for the turbines (under one of two curtail options), or remove the turbines and replace them with a solar photovoltaic array at the town landfill. The recommendations stem from the WTOP’s 53-page, detailed report that also described the WTOP process and how it reached its conclusions.
Kevin Murphy, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, thanked WTOP members for their service to the community at the Jan. 18 meeting. “The time, effort, and civility you’ve displayed was extraordinary, and you should be commended,” he said.
“We are planning [Jan. 23] to have an open meeting with the Board of Selectmen to solicit and take public comments,” he added “We surely would like to hear from each and every one of you, but we may come up with guidelines about the amount of time we will give everybody.”
Murphy said they are not trying to rush the process, but the town must act by Feb. 4 to prepare a warrant article for Falmouth’s spring special town meeting.
In addition to their recommendations, the WTOP explored other options that were not recommended to the selectmen. These included use of sound barriers and berms, moving the turbines, mechanical alterations to reduce noise; and legal action against engineers, contractors, and consultants.
During the Jan. 18 meeting, Murphy said selectmen may use the WTOP’s data to consider other options or combining recommended options. He also suggested compromise from all interested parties is needed. No matter what happens, Murphy said the issue could still end up before voters.
“We will have to take this to a town meeting … and possibly go to the electorate. If it does go to the polls, it would be out of the hands of the Board of Selectmen and be in the hands of what the voters have to say,” Murphy said.
Murphy said they are not trying to rush the process, but selectmen must act by Feb. 4 to prepare a warrant article for Falmouth’s spring special town meeting.
“We [the selectmen] have two weeks to take public comment and deliberate ourselves because, like you folks, we have different opinions. … The goal is to have the article we want for Feb. 4,” Murphy said.
A review of the WTOP recommendations will be in the Jan. 23 print edition of The Bulletin and through future updates on Wicked Local Falmouth.
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