FALMOUTH – It will be an all-turbine Special Town Meeting in November, as town officials react to the latest order to stop running the town-owned wind turbines at the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Selectmen held a special meeting Tuesday at Falmouth Public Library to vote on the warrant in time for the warrant deadline Tuesday night.
Falmouth Selectman Sam Patterson said the articles on the warrant will give Town Meeting members a chance to weigh in once again on the controversial issue of whether the turbines should keep running, despite complaints from nearby residents.
One of the articles would change the town bylaw to allow the turbines.
“Town Meeting really has now the opportunity to basically set straight as a bylaw by saying that the town does not have to have a special permit in order to operate the wind turbines that exist today—not any new ones but the ones that exist today—on public use property,” Patterson said.
The Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals voted last week that the town needs to stop operating the turbines because of court rulings stating the turbines were erected without the proper zoning approval. Selectmen decided Monday to appeal that decision by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Patterson said he would rather elected Town Meeting members make the decision about the turbines, rather than the board of appeals.
“I’m much more comfortable with asking Town Meeting to tackle this problem. Let’s get it done with and not have it be in the hands of a relatively small number of individuals who will set the future of the town,” he said, referring to the board of appeals.
The first article on the Special Town Meeting warrant asks Town Meeting members to approve the appropriation of money into an account to pay for the energy not generated by the wind turbines.
The second article on the warrant will be a citizen’s petition referendum to see if the town supports the Board of Selectmen’s “efforts to maximize the benefits and thereby minimize any financial burden to Falmouth citizens” by continuing to run the turbines.
The third article would change the current town bylaw to specifically allow the two town-owned turbines to continue to operate, thus negating the board of appeals decision.
Patterson said, “This is an opportunity for town meeting to take a position on this. And it does require a two-thirds vote in order to be able to pass this and change the bylaws.”
Selectmen will vote on their recommendations on the warrant articles on October 5. The Special Town Meeting is on November 10.
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