After a reluctant move to New Jersey, I am happy to be moving back to my place of birth and the place I love most, Western Massachusetts. I will be living in Shelburne Falls in a few months. I can say for certain that if the eight large turbines (each 480 feet tall) that were planned for Shelburne Falls had been built, I would not consider living there.
Now I am hearing that a wind energy developer is asking the town of Peru to change its zoning bylaws. In a verbal slight of hand, the developer is claiming that the new bylaws will be protective of the town.
The truth is that the new bylaws would remove that pesky ambiguity related to noise allowances that the developer is complaining about. And the reason for the new language is to protect the wind developer from a successful lawsuit as the neighbors would inevitably start being severely disturbed by the operation of the wind turbines, just like what happens everywhere else.
The developer must know that acousticians who have studied noise from wind turbines have found that just measuring decibels of noise does not measure the characteristics of wind turbines that are causing complaints from those who live near turbines. The offer of 45 decibels at your home is not going to protect you from the low level sounds and vibrations that cause dizziness, headaches, insomnia, stress and a cascading number of health effects related to losing the quiet enjoyment of your homes.
And protective bylaws are almost always written to protect a person at their property line, not at their doorstep. Even if 45 decibels is a reasonable standard, why would you allow for more than what could only be considered an “unacceptable” disturbance on every other square foot of your property?
I am so glad that Shelburne ending up banning large wind turbines and Buckland is now in its second year of a moratorium on them. I hope for your sake that Peru votes “no” on the new bylaws at your July 8 special town meeting.