Bad legal advice to the town of Falmouth seems to have led it from the frying pan into the fire with the long-running wind turbine fiasco.
It’s now painfully obvious the town’s legal advisers were asleep at the switch when Falmouth pressed ahead with a massive wind generating project without going through the proper zoning and permitting procedures. If it had actually followed its own rules with the same due process it implores residents to follow on a regular basis, the current impasse with neighboring property owners over the turbine’s ill effects might have been avoided altogether. That was mistake No. 1 – clearly, a whopper that placed the municipality in the frying pan.
And here comes mistake No. 2: Falmouth municipal officials are again acting on bad legal advice by proposing a zoning bylaw exemption for town-owned wind turbines in a special town meeting on Nov. 10. The town manager now appears convinced that a major town screwup can be easily fixed by passing a new zoning bylaw. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Spot zoning is not consistent with the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps Falmouth’s town counsel would be wise to familiarize himself with the following paper on spot zoning before pushing the town into yet another firestorm of legal troubles: http://tinyurl.com/q77eqm3.
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