KINGSTON – Country Club Way resident Tim Dwyer wants to meet with selectmen to review what he describes as evidence that Mary O’Donnell’s three wind turbines are out of compliance with state noise regulations.
In a letter to selectmen dated May 23, Dwyer requests a meeting on June 4 to explain why he believes her three turbines are clearly out of compliance, in violation of her contract with the town. He said he lays out as clearly as he can that these turbines are out of compliance.
Dwyer and other residents affected by O’Donnell’s wind turbines hired their own acoustical engineer to perform sound measurements on her turbines. On the evening of April 2 and 3, Noise Control Engineering Inc. of Billerica took sound measurements at four homes surrounding the O’Donnell turbines and at a reference location to establish ambient noise levels.
He said Noise Control Engineering concluded based on this testing that the O’Donnell wind turbines are generating noise that is in excess of the state’s broadband noise guideline. (See attachment)
“The evidence that the O’Donnell turbines are operating outside the boundaries of the DEP noise regulation is incontrovertible, and the effects are devastating,” he writes. “Residents are being forced to abandon their homes during periods of high wind speeds. Others, with no alternative, simply hunker down and try to survive day-to-day with a debilitating lack of sleep.”
O’Donnell said she has submitted the report by Noise Control Engineering to her own acoustic consultants and from what she’s been told doesn’t believe the report holds any weight.
“It’s a bogus study,” she said. “It’s laughable. It isn’t even up to DEP standards.”
Dwyer disputes that.
“According to the board-certified member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering who performed the sound study, the protocols used for the analysis were in all material respects consistent with the methodology employed by the DEP,” he said. “Ms. O’Donnell’s suggestion that the study is not up to DEP standards is misguided and lacks credibility.”
She dismisses the study as another attempt by Dwyer and others to get the town to take action against her when other efforts have failed. Dwyer said O’Donnell has her head stuck in the sand about the operation of her turbines.
“Look, if she can operate these things profitably within the boundaries of the applicable laws, good for her,” he said. “Unfortunately, there was evidence from the very start that these things were going to violate the DEP noise regulation, and at her own peril, she put them up anyways. At some point she’s going to have to realize that you can’t just stick your head in the sand and hope the laws go away.”
O’Donnell said people who live even closer to the turbines aren’t complaining, and if Dwyer’s home is losing value, she said, that’s of his own doing. She said his motive is clear.
“It’s really all about money,” she said.
Dwyer said he thinks O’Donnell has that part backwards.
“All I’ve ever cared about was the health and welfare of the affected residents,” he said.
O’Donnell also doesn’t believe her turbines are a hazard to people’s health.
“They’re not harmful to people’s health, period,” she said.
According to Dwyer, being out of compliance would put O’Donnell in default of the town’s zoning bylaws and in violation of Wind Power Purchase Agreement she signed with the town.
In his letter, he writes that it’s within the board’s legal rights, and a moral imperative, that selectmen take action. He recommends either shutting the turbines down or insisting that O’Donnell comply with DEP sanctioned testing of the turbines.
“It is no longer permissible to ignore the mounting scientific evidence of non-compliance, while O’Donnell stonewalls all efforts to assess the extent of the violation,” he said.
Selectmen Chairman Elaine Fiore, however, has declined to put Dwyer on the agenda for the next meeting, citing a previously scheduled meeting with the Board of Health and three scheduled town administrator candidate interviews making for a full agenda. She informed Dwyer of her decision Tuesday.
“I’m obviously disappointed that the board has elected to defer this important discussion,” Dwyer said. “Given the severity of the situation and the conclusive evidence of a DEP noise violation, it’s very frustrating to think that we, as a town, can’t find a way to address this issue in less than a month.”
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