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Update: Kingston Board of Health prepares for turbine appeal

KINGSTON – The Board of Health expects Kingston Wind Independence to appeal the modified abatement order for operation of its wind turbine.

Chairman Bill Watson said Town Planner Tom Bott has been notified that the Independence owner intends to appeal its second abatement order, although as of Monday night the board did not have a copy of any appeal.

As of midday Wednesday, Bott said that as far as he knew an appeal had not been filed. In general, he said, KWI objects to portions of the modified order that were not in the original order requiring action by KWI relative to predictions of when the turbine may exceed state noise regulations.

Watson said KWI has 60 days from the date it received the signed modified order to appeal it. He said that would mean the appeal period started about a week after the board’s Oct. 19 vote to approve the modified order.

KWI has committed to abiding by the terms of the first abatement order approved in August 2014.

“They are shutting it down under the old criteria, which is specific to a south southwest (wind) direction,” Watson said.

The modified order drops the requirement that the turbine be shut down based on a specific wind direction.

The new order requires that the turbine be shut down year-round between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. when wind speeds reach at least 7 meters per second at the turbine hub, regardless of wind direction, and between 11:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. when wind speeds exceed 9 meters or more per second at the hub, also regardless of wind direction.

Watson said Town Counsel Jay Talerman is exploring the board’s legal options, including filing for an injunction forcing KWI to abide by the modified order.

Board member Toni Cushman asked who ensures that KWI abides by the original abatement order.

The Board of Health scheduled an executive session Monday night to discuss KWI, but a majority of its members decided there would be no point in discussing the appeal further until they have additional information.

KWI was also ordered to conduct additional sound sampling to refute or confirm predictions that state noise regulations will be exceeded at locations east of Route 3 and in the Copper Beech Drive neighborhood west of Route 3. Additional study would be conducted in accordance with DEP protocol.

The order additionally opens the door to KWI employing a low noise mode rather than shutting down the turbine, but KWI must first prove that the turbine would be in compliance with the state’s noise regulation by conducting further studies.