FAIRHAVEN – The developer of Fairhaven’s two turbines is expected to submit a “compromise” to the town by Monday night.
Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Charlie Murphy said Thursday that Fairhaven Wind is expected to submit a proposal to the boards of health and selectmen, which will discuss it together in a closed-door meeting scheduled for Monday night.
“We don’t know exactly what they will propose, but they know we would like for our residents to get a good night’s sleep without posing a financial burden on the town,” he said. “We are putting the ball in their court.”
Sumul Shah of Fairhaven Wind would not go into details of his proposal but said the town has many options. Those include, but are not limited to, turning off one turbine at night, which Shah suggested in a letter to the Board of Selectmen last week. He said it would keep the turbines in compliance with state noise regulations.
“That was just proof that we could be in compliance, not a proposal,” he said. “We want a real resolution, so we need to sit down and find a way to make our contract match everyone’s expectations.”
Murphy said a final decision on the proposal would eventually be made in an open session, but it will be discussed behind the closed doors of an executive session.
The Board of Health had originally scheduled an open hearing on the wind turbines for Monday night. That hearing was requested by Fairhaven Wind, which then requested that the hearing be postponed while a compromise is negotiated.
Shah said his company asked to propose the hearing “so we could continue to make progress in our ongoing negotiations and to allow that process to happen without the pressure of a full-court press at a public hearing.”
Health Board member Barbara Acksen said the hearing may be rescheduled at a later date.
“We are just starting this process and we are waiting to see the proposal,” she said.
The hearing was postponed after a closed-door meeting of a “steering committee,” which met Wednesday. There Murphy and Acksen met with representatives from Fairhaven Wind, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Fairhaven Executive Secretary Jeffrey Osuch.
Though that meeting was closed to the public, it did not break any open meeting laws because there was not a quorum of any town boards present.
Murphy said he understands that residents “don’t want to be left out of the loop” by closed-door discussions, but he said “We want the developer to be free to talk about things.”
“Nothing has been hidden,” he said, noting the Board of Selectmen uses a similar process of sending a single representative for negotiating union contracts.
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