Falmouth Board of Selectmen voted Monday night to recommend article 2 on the Special Town Meeting warrant, which supports the continued operation of the town’s two wind turbines.
Members of the Falmouth Climate Action team submitted a petition article for Special Town Meeting on November 10. If approved, the article will uphold the continued operation of both turbines as voted on by residents at the May 2013 town election.
Members of the climate action team quickly gathered 139 signatures to get the article on the warrant, just hours before selectmen finalized the warrant on Tuesday, September 29. The night before, on September 28, selectmen voted to abide by an order from the zoning board of appeals to temporarily stop operation of the first turbine, Wind 1, while the appeals board secures a special permit for its operation. The Massachusetts Court of Appeals ruled in February that the special permit is needed for Wind 1 to operate.
Two-thirds of residents who voted at the May 2013 town election voted against taking the turbines down, a decision members of the climate action team want the town to abide by. Ronald D. Zweig, a co-sponsor of the article, told selectmen Monday night that it would cost the town $10 million to stop the turbines, as well as an additional $15 million in loss of electricity generated through their operation. He also noted that only 16 residents who live nearby the turbines have issued complaints to date regarding their operation.
Mr. Zweig added that some homes abutting the turbines on Blacksmith Shop Road have sold above their assessed value.
“The real estate value in that area is robust,” he told selectmen.
Selectmen voted to recommend the article when it goes to Special Town Meeting floor next month. Selectman Mary (Pat) Flynn said supporting the article is consistent with the board’s ongoing support of wind energy in town.
“We’ve made a long term commitment to renewable energy,” she said.