For the last five and a half years, Day O. Mount and his wife, Kathy, have woken up every day promptly at 7 AM. The noise from the turbine situated near their Blacksmith Shop Road home will not allow them the luxury of sleeping later, but that changed abruptly Tuesday morning.
“It was 8 AM when we woke up,” Mr. Mount said. “We thought, ‘How did we sleep through it?’”
Selectmen voted during executive session Monday night to stop operation of the Wind 1 turbine as they appeal a cease and desist order from the zoning board of appeals. The appeals board ordered that the turbine be stopped temporarily while it worked on securing a special permit to keep the turbine in operation.
Mr. Mount said the noise from the turbines, which are only a few thousand feet from his home, forces his wife and him to keep their windows shut during the summer months. Other activities such as gardening have also been problematic because of the noise.
But after only three days of silence, he said he is already noticing the difference that the turbine’s inactivity has had on him.
“It reduces our stress, for sure,” he said.
Other neighbors on Blacksmith Shop Road also say they have noticed the health benefits that have come with the turbine’s temporary shutdown. Kathryn L. Elder said she has been sleeping better and feeling better overall since Tuesday.
“To have it off during the day—it’s an amazing feeling,” Ms. Elder said. “The improvements are so subtle. I don’t think most people could understand it.”
Looking beyond herself, Ms. Elder said that the turbine shutdown has been even more beneficial for those residents who spend more time at home. While she works during the week, other neighbors have often been left to deal with the noise from the turbines all day long. The noise has forced some retired residents to leave their homes during the day as a matter of necessity, she said.
“This is the time that they really want to enjoy their home,” she said. “That they have to leave it, that’s unfair.”
While there have been benefits to the turbine’s temporary operation, both Mr. Mount and Ms. Elder say that it is not enough. They said they hope that the town will work to remove the turbines, not simply for them, but for the good of all Falmouth residents.
“Do I feel like we’re winning? No,” Ms. Elder said. “I feel like we’re dragging town staff and the selectmen toward a solution.”
“It’s just unfair,” said Mr. Mount, arguing that the process that the town took in getting the turbines up and running was flawed. “We’ve rushed ahead here in Falmouth, and now we have to pay the cost of our mistake.”
Some in town have pegged neighbors abutting the turbines as obstructionists, but Mr. Mount said that is not the case. He said that while neighbors are in favor of efforts to address climate change, solutions such as the installation of the turbines should not come at the expense of the town’s own residents. Other options, such as an proposed Town Meeting article seeking the installation of solar arrays at the site of the former town landfill on Thomas B. Landers Road, would be a more effective and less divisive approach to addressing the climate change issue, he said.
“We are not going to solve climate change with a process that hurts people,” he said.
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