FALMOUTH – The Board of Selectmen will meet Monday afternoon to discuss the town’s next steps in its wind turbine legal battles.
Wednesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court denied Falmouth’s petition for further appellate review of the town’s ongoing legal dispute with neighbors over the controversial wind turbines. The state Court of Appeals ruled in February that the town needed approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals before installing Wind 1, one of the two turbines; the town contended that, since the turbines were owned by Falmouth and being installed on town land, zoning laws didn’t apply.
Doug Jones, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he wanted to bring the matter before the board before their next regularly scheduled meeting June 15.
“There was the thought that it was important to discuss what we are going to do,” he said.
The board will first meet in a closed-door session to discuss wind turbine lawsuits, of which several still remain, and then open the meeting to discuss the turbine situation.
With no more judicial avenues to pursue, the zoning case will return to Barnstable Superior Court Judge Robert Rufo, whose decision was overturned by the Court of Appeals and who must issue a new ruling.
But what that ruling will be remains unclear.
If the turbines have to go through the zoning process, it’s uncertain which of two versions of the turbine bylaw will be applicable. In 2013, town meeting approved a revised bylaw that prohibits turbines with a capacity of more than 250 kilowatts anywhere in town. Both Wind 1 and its mate, Wind 2, have capacities of 1.65 megawatts, more than six times what’s permitted by the newer restrictions. The bylaw also limits to 6 decibels the allowable noise levels audible to neighbors from the machines.
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