FALMOUTH – The Board of Health voted Monday night to accept future comments on the town’s two wind turbines only in writing while they wrestle with their next move on the devices’ health effects on residents.
The issue was back on their agenda as a result of last month’s vote by the Board of Selectmen to expand the turbines’ operations from 12 hours a day to 16 hours in an attempt to generate enough revenue to cover their operational costs.
After several contentious hearings on the turbines last year, the Board of Health had decided to take no new action absent new, peer-reviewed scientific data or a change in the operating hours for the turbines.
The turbines are now off for just eight hours, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., but the board members indicated Monday they weren’t ready to decide how, or if, they would respond. That decision came after several hours of public comment on the matter that pushed their meeting past 10 p.m.
By taking comments in writing, board member George Heufelder said, the board will continue to receive new information without pushing meeting times past practical limitations.
The two 1.65-megawatt turbines at the town’s wastewater facility on Blacksmith Shop Road have been the focus of an ongoing debate since their installation. Neighbors complain about noise and health issues and others say the town must run them to recoup their installation costs and provide a source of renewable energy.
The Board of Health will meet next on Oct. 21; the operation of the turbines is planned to be on the agenda.
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