The town plans to file a lawsuit against the developers of a wind farm that is under construction off Head of the Bay Road, just across the town line in Plymouth.
Toward that end, the town has brought on Hyannis attorney Charles M. Sabatt to team with town counsel Robert S. Troy on the legal fight against the project. Bourne Board of Selectmen chairman Stephen F. Mealy made the announcement during the board’s meeting Tuesday, . Mr. Troy said that a lawsuit will be filed in Barnstable Superior Court “within days.”
Mr. Mealy told the audience who attended the meeting that there would be limited discussion in public with regard to the case and the strategy employed by the attorneys. He said that those discussions would be confined to executive sessions.
“We do not want to tip our hand, relative to litigation,” he said.
Mr. Troy concurred. He said that as much as he and Mr. Sabatt would like to share information relative to the case with the public, residents must understand and appreciate the fact that the people most interested in learning about the town’s legal approach will be the defendants.
“For strategic reasons, we’re going to have to limit our discussion to executive sessions with the board of health and the board of selectmen,” he said.
Selectman Peter J. Meier said it was Mr. Troy who recommended bringing Mr. Sabatt on board, and selectmen approved the recommendation in executive session. Mr. Meier said he could not reveal why the recommendation was made because that is part of the legal strategy in the case.
Four 450-foot-tall wind turbines are being built on a cranberry farm owned by Keith A. Mann on the Bourne/Plymouth town line. The board of health contends that Future Generation Wind and Consolidated Edison Solutions needed to secure a variance from the Town of Bourne’s wind energy conversion systems regulations. Those regulations declare “excessive noise and [shadow] flicker a nuisance” and require a variance to regulate the amount of allowable shadow flicker and the noise level of the spinning blades.
Mr. Troy has previously advised the board of health that because the effects of the turbines, particularly shadow flicker caused by the spinning blades, would be felt by Bourne residents, the project comes under the board’s authority. However, the companies’ position has been that because the wind farm is in Plymouth, the Bourne Board of Health has no jurisdiction.
Mr. Troy said that he and Mr. Sabatt have studied very carefully what the town needs to do in order to take effective action with respect to enforcement of Bourne bylaw.
“We are confident that we have identified, in a strategic sense, the most important elements of our bylaw that need to be observed in order to build the type of record that we need to have with respect to enforcement action on this issue,” he said.
During a lengthy board of health meeting on January 13, members devised the wording for violation notices that were to have been issued to more than a dozen entities, including Future Generation Wind, Consolidated Edison Solutions, the Town of Plymouth, the Plymouth Board of Health, and Mr. Mann.
Notices were also to be issued to Eversource, since the company has entered into an agreement to receive power generated by the turbines, and mortgage company Farm East Credit of Middleborough. The board decided that Farm East Credit did not do its due diligence in making sure that variances had been secured for the project from the Town of Bourne.
The enforcement notices were to have gone out on January 14. Mr. Mealy announced during this week’s selectmen’s meeting that the orders have not been issued yet.
“That may become something that takes place at a later date. I’m not at liberty to speak about that at this time,” he said.
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