BUZZARDS BAY – Bourne health officials are looking to stop construction of four wind turbines just over the town line in south Plymouth, because they believe the 500-foot-tall machines will impact several local residents and violate the town’s wind turbine regulations.
The Board of Health unanimously voted Wednesday to ask selectmen for funds to send town attorney Robert Troy to court to seek an injunction against Future Generation Wind, according to Health Agent Terri Guarino.
The board says the company already admitted the turbines will have an impact on Bourne.
“A representative from Future Generation Wind stated publicly that their project would cause a nuisance to Bourne residents with flicker and noise once they are in operation,” Guarino said. “We have had Future Generation Wind before our board many times. They have made it clear they cannot comply with our regulations and there will be adverse impacts to the residents of Bourne.”
In a September meeting with the Board of Health, attorney Jonathan Fitch, who represents turbine owner ConEdison, argued that the wind turbines do not have to comply with Bourne’s bylaws because they are being built in Plymouth.
The Board of Health countered that it has purview since the turbines’ impact would spill over town lines.
Bourne selectmen will discuss the request for taking legal action at their next meeting Dec. 1, said Stephen Mealy, chairman of the board.
“We’ve asked the town administrator and town counsel to put together a preliminary report on the cost,” Mealy said.
The selectmen’s only involvement in the Plymouth-based wind energy project to date has been to grant ConEdison a license to bring the massive turbine parts through Bourne on their way to Plymouth.
After discussing the issue for several weeks, the license request won narrow approval, with three selectmen in favor and two opposed.
“People in that area of Bourne are very concerned, and I’m very concerned about the neighbors over there,” said Selectman Michael Blanton, who opposed granting the license. “The biggest problem is we don’t know how substantial the impacts will be until the turbines are up and running.”
But Blanton conceded the turbines are over the town line and possibly beyond Bourne’s authority.
“The Board of Health has a different opinion on this,” he said. “The big question is do Bourne municipal boards have the authority to regulate outside the town and even outside the county.”
ConEdison clearly doesn’t think so.
“Future Generation Wind received all required approvals prior to commencement of construction, ” ConEdison spokeswoman Christine Nevin wrote in an email.
If he is directed to move forward, Troy said he would file a civil action against the project in Barnstable Superior Court.
Fitch declined to comment on the matter, saying it wouldn’t be appropriate.
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