The Bourne Board of Health on Jan. 14 issued enforcement orders to owners of the four-turbine wind farm taking shape on Keith Mann’s cranberry tract in Head of the Bay at South Plymouth.
The orders went out following a nearly five-hour health board session at Town Hall Jan. 13 in which residents expressed displeasure with the turbines, the manner in which they were approved in Plymouth, the impacts on Bourne homes, and Bourne’s approach to legal and health protection matters surrounding the controversial project.
Orders went the Plymouth health board, Mann, Future Generation Wind, and project owner Consolidated Edison Solutions. Another went to EverSource, the area electric utility.
Three of the four turbines have been constructed and dominate the Head of the Bay landscape, stretching from Buttermilk Bay to the Route 25 connector.
The Bourne health board has tried to persuade Mann and his Future Generation attorney to request a variance of the Bourne turbine/wind energy protection regulation – something that would invite critical review of possible operational impacts including noise, shadow, and flicker.
Mann and ConEdison argue, however, the Bourne health board does not hold jurisdiction over the wind farm, a point Bourne Town Counsel Robert Troy says would be settled at Barnstable District Court once he can file a request for a civil injunction against the alternative-energy complex. But, he argues, this cannot evolve until enforcement orders are issued.
Some Head of the Bay residents, meanwhile, say Troy should be removed from the case, that he has not acted quickly enough, that he is not willing to share legal strategies with the health board, and that selectmen should authorize special counsel being retained.
Karen Gibides of Morning Mist Lane, a direct abutter to the turbines, says that, if Bourne does not quickly act on the turbines, it merely sets precedent for other projects with adverse impacts springing up along its borders.
Selectman Donald Ellis, however, said he has followed the turbine issue but does not support any effort to remove Troy from the windfarm case or hire special counsel.
Ellis said he doubts the Bourne board of health, through its agent, can issue a viable enforcement order against Plymouth authorities.
“I just think you can’t do that and be successful; those turbines are not physically in our town and we can’t know the impacts until they’re up and operational,” he said.
Ellis said that, after nearly a half-century in various public positions in Bourne town government, “I’d be the last to second-guess Bob Troy on points of law and procedure. That’s not productive. But there has been no (selectmen) discussion to remove him, and the board (selectmen) has never voted to deny funding for outside counsel.”
On Jan. 14, in response to an email from Hideaway Village resident Cayce L. Sands (who attended the recent meeting), Bourne Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino said that, to date, neither he nor the selectmen have voted to deny funding to the board of health to hire separate counsel.