FALMOUTH – The Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals is poised to deny a special-permit application for one of the town’s wind turbines following a deliberation this morning.
The majority of board members found fault with the application on more than one front, including the zoning requirement that the turbine known as Wind 1 will not have “adverse effects” on either the neighborhood or the town. Throughout the permit hearing, which stretched over a half dozen meetings and several months, neighbors of the turbine presented evidence on multiple fronts, including personal testimony, in an attempt to show the negative effects of the turbine.
“Hearing that (turbine) at all hours of the night, I wouldn’t want to hear it,” said ZBA member Paul Murphy. “The testimony is pretty compelling. I believe it to be honest and compelling. I don’t think anyone out there has any agenda. It’s a very serious issue and it’s not going away.”
A final vote wasn’t taken at this morning’s public meeting. The board’s attorney, Mark Bobrowski, will bring the final order to the board for a vote at a later date. The board has until 90 days following the close of the public hearing, which ended Feb. 1, to render its decision.
The turbines at the town’s wastewater treatment facility on Blacksmith Shop Road have been a source of controversy since they were installed. Neighbors have complained about health effects from their operation and have used a number of avenues to try to shut them down, while the town has warned of dire financial consequences should either device be deactivated.
Wind 1 has been shut down since September under a cease-and-desist order issued by the ZBA. The state’s Appeals Court ruled in 2015 that the machine, which helps power the treatment plant, should have received a permit before it was constructed. Building Commissioner Eladio Gore had ruled that since the turbines are owned by the town and were installed on town land, zoning laws didn’t apply.
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