FALMOUTH – Despite being dealt a setback in a similar suit last year, the town is again suing its own Zoning Board of Appeals in an attempt to overturn the determination that Falmouth’s two municipal turbines are a nuisance.
On Dec. 5, the ZBA ruled that the turbines located at the town’s wastewater treatment plant were disruptive to Barry and Diane Funfar, who live on Ridgeview Drive.
Barry Funfar complained to the town in April that the turbines were making his pre-existing health problems worse. A Vietnam veteran, he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and says the turbines exacerbate the effect of his PTSD symptoms. The ruling directed the town to take whatever steps are necessary to remove the nuisance caused by the turbines.
Rather than comply, the town filed suit last week in Barnstable Superior Court, asking a judge to reverse the decision. In his complaint, Town Counsel Frank Duffy said the ZBA exceeded its authority in six ways, including accepting “alleged expert testimony” from individuals who gave subjective testimony and that the board had insufficient evidence to determine the Funfars’ home had lost value.
Duffy also said Funfar’s PTSD is a pre-existing condition, the symptoms of which are unable to be distinguished from the effects he claims are caused by the wind turbines.
Funfar said he was upset the town was continuing to fight the ZBA ruling. “It’s making me mad, you could say,” he said. “It’s just prolonging the agony longer and longer.”
The town sued to overturn a similar ZBA ruling that declared the turbines a nuisance on behalf of Neil and Elizabeth Andersen of Blacksmith Shop Road. In that case, Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher Muse ruled that, while the case is pending, the turbines can run only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and were to be off on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The selectmen voted in September to run the turbines for 16 hours a day in an effort to generate enough revenue to cover their operational costs.
“I really didn’t expect the town to do the same thing again, to sue their own ZBA,” Funfar said.
Town Manager Julian Suso did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.
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