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Cease-and-desist order issued against Falmouth turbine

The Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals has filed its cease-and-desist against the town and ordered Wind 1 shut down immediately, although the turbine could continue to spin at least through mid-October.

The order and accompanying decision, filed this morning with Town Clerk Michael Palmer, makes official a 4-1 vote taken Thursday to overrule Zoning Enforcement Officer Eladio Gore’s decision not to shut down the turbine in the wake of a Massachusetts Court of Appeals ruling that the device was constructed without proper zoning approval. The town is seeking a special permit from the ZBA for the turbine, and neighbors of the turbine wanted it shut off in the interim.

In its enforcement order, the Zoning Board of Appeals outlined seven reasons why it decided to overrule Gore:

The harm to the neighbors outweighs the economic harm to the town that would result from the turbine being shut down.

The two previous ZBA decisions ruling that Wind 1 was a nuisance.

Wind 1 has run for five years without the required special permit.

The special permit application for Wind 1 will take months to be resolved.

A cease-and-desist order would not conflict with a ruling by Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher Muse limiting the hours of operation for Wind 1 and Wind 2.

The matter is different from an earlier ZBA ruling declining to shut off the turbine following a request by neighbor Todd Drummey. In his denial, Gore did not address that request for a cease-and-desist order.

The town has the ability to appeal the order in court and seek a delay of its enforcement.

The town’s twin, 397-foot-tall turbines were erected at the wastewater treatment plant on Blacksmith Shop Road in 2009 and have been a continuing source of controversy ever since. Neighbors have complained about ill effects from their operation and have used a number of avenues to try and halt their operation.

The town has 20 days, or until Oct. 13, to file an appeal of the ZBA ruling, Town Counsel Frank Duffy said. During that time, the cease-and-desist order will not be enforced. The Board of Selectmen is scheduled to address the ruling in executive session Monday night.

Duffy said he had not fully reviewed the ruling this morning and did not have any immediate comment.