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Bourne selectmen hear complaint about legal approach to halting turbines

BOURNE

A Buzzards Bay resident on Dec. 15 took strong exception to town plans to head into court and try to stop construction of four industrial-grade wind turbines in Head of the Bay at South Plymouth.

Ronald Matheson of Wolf Road said ConEdison Solution’s Future Generation Wind farm taking shape off Head of the Bay Road is already “de-valuating” residential property in Buzzards Bay Village at a time when Bourne faces persistent and unsettled financial issues.

Matheson also took issue with Town Counsel Robert S. Troy’s stated approach to preparing, handling, and presenting a civil-injunction request in Barnstable Superior Court to halt turbine construction.

“The town counsel has basically waved the white flag on this,” Matheson told selectmen. “I suggest you need to hire an aggressive attorney who understands what the problem is and attack it immediately.”

Two turbines have been constructed and the blades have been attached. A crane is in place on cranberry grower Keith Mann’s tract off Head of the Bay Road, ready to start third-turbine work.

The alterative-energy structures are readily visible from the road and Hideaway Village as well as from various homes in the area with one turbine’s blades close to a house at the end of Morning Mist Lane.

Selectmen have agreed to a board of health request to approve legal-affairs spending so Troy can handle pending litigation, which might halt turbine construction and perhaps also force New Generation Wind to submit to Bourne turbine-regulation review.

The jurisdictional issue involves turbines planned, reviewed, and built in Plymouth and whether a Bourne board can apply its regulation to the project.

This, Troy told the health board recently, is a legal issue that will have to be addressed as plans for a civil-injunction request proceed.

Selectmen did not respond to Matheson’s remarks. Troy, for his part, listened to Matheson’s argument but did also not respond with comments.

It remains unclear how supportive selectmen will remain to spending money on what might be a protracted legal issue, going up against ConEdison’s deeper pockets.

However, the town has $50,000 it received in mitigation funds for allowing turbine equipment to be shipped over Buzzards Bay roadways to Head of the Bay last month.

Selectman Michael Blanton suggests that mitigation fund could be tapped to help with any legal fees that might outstrip the town’s legal-affairs budget in this matter.