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Kingston Board of Health endorses amended flicker consultant contract

KINGSTON – An amended contract with the consultant selected by the Board of Health to help create a wind turbine shadow flicker regulation is under review by town counsel.

When selectmen review it, it will already have the support of the Board of Health after its members voted, 4-1, Monday night to endorse the new contract.

Board of Health member Toni Cushman voted against approval after questioning the part of the contract that referred to travel, accomodations, meals and other expenses. She sought clarification of whether these expenses were part of the $9,900 cost for 45 hours of work by two people.

Town Administrator Robert Fennessy, Board of Health Chairman Joe Casna, Selectmen Chairman Elaine Fiore and Selectman Dick Arruda recently met with representatives from K2 Management to narrow the scope of the consultant’s services.

The amended contract was submitted to the town administrator’s office late last week. The consultant’s primary role would be to help the Board of Health develop a flicker regulation.

Cushman has submitted a proposed Wind Energy Conversion System Shadow Flicker Regulation to the board, but it has not been reviewed publicly. She said she is waiting for it to be discussed.

The regulation states that based on the testimony about shadow flicker from members of the public since the fall of 2012, the board has determined that flicker impacts constitute a nuisance. Under specific state regulations, it continues, the board determines that reasonable regulations should be adopted for the protection of the health and safety of residents.

Her regulation requires notice to the Board of Health of new turbine projects, establishes performance standards, lays out the rules for a variance request and gives the board enforcement duties.

Monday night’s Board of Health meeting ended abruptly after Leland Road resident Doreen Reilly argued that the town would not be well served by hiring a wind turbine consultant to advise the board. Before Leland Road resident Dan Alves could speak to the board, a quick vote was taken to end the meeting.

Before the meeting closed, Casna asked board members if they would like to meet again in their previous meeting room instead of Room 200 where meetings can be televised. Casna said the request was from Health Agent Henny Walters.

Board members agreed to continue to meet in Room 200 at least through January, after residents objected to the change, but will accept input from the public about where the board should meet.