Three articles will appear on the warrant for Special Town Meeting on November 10, including one that if approved would allow the town’s two wind turbines to operate without a special permit.
The third of the three articles that selectmen unanimously approved for inclusion on the warrant Tuesday night at the Falmouth Public Library will let voters decide whether or not to allow Wind 1 and Wind 2 to run without the special permit. A “yes” vote would amend the town’s existing turbine bylaw to make the turbines exempt from permitting.
In February, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals determined that the special permit should have been obtained before the turbines began running in 2009. The zoning board of appeals issued a cease and desist order on September 17 to temporarily shut down the first turbine, Wind 1, while the board gets a special permit to allow it to continue to operate. Falmouth selectmen voted Monday night while in executive session to abide by the cease and desist order, even as they prepare to appeal the the appeals board’s order.
Selectmen deliberated whether or not to include the article on the November warrant. Selectmen chairman Douglas H. Jones said he felt that the article was being rushed through and thought that it would be better to put it off until Town Meeting in the spring.
“Having this really fine tuned for April, I would support that decision,” he said.
However, selectman Samuel Patterson said that he would rather put the matter in the hands of Town Meeting voters as opposed to the appeals board.
“Is this a decision that will be made as a legislative move or by a committee,” he asked. “I’m much more comfortable with asking Town Meeting to tackle this problem.”
Selectman Mary Pat Flynn added that including the article on the Special Town Meeting warrant in November would not preclude the board from postponing it if they decide to do so on Town Meeting floor.
Selectmen also gave unanimous approval to two other articles Tuesday night, including one to appropriate the transfer of money to the town’s energy receipts reserve to cover costs incurred by stopping Wind 1. A petition article asking voters to keep both turbines up and running as voted on by Falmouth residents received the minimum of 100 signatures, Mr. Jones confirmed. That article was approved by selectmen pending certification from town clerk Michael Palmer.
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