Two legal efforts to halt construction of a controversial four-turbine wind farm at Head of the Bay in South Plymouth is set to play out Tuesday, March 8 at 2 p.m. in Barnstable Superior Court.
The court will hear the Town of Bourne’s request for injunctive relief; the civil action was filed in late January to force Future Generation Wind LLC into review of its turbine complex by the Bourne Board of Health.
Bourne, meanwhile, was served with a civil action by 10 Buzzards Bay residents March 3, seeking injunctive relief while protesting potential wind farm impacts on their neighborhood and Bourne selectmen’s handling of the legal case presented by Bourne Town Counsel Robert Troy.
The taxpayer group, which also served Future Generation Wind, has taken vocal and public issue with Troy’s handling of the wind farm case. Members allege selectmen, though they granted legal-affairs funding for injunctive relief, were never serious in supporting a preliminary injunction being lodged against Future Generation Wind.
The commercial-grade turbines have been constructed on upland at Keith Mann’s cranberry tract off Head of the Bay Road, stretching to the Route 25 connector. The fourth structure to go up with blades attached is situated three miles from the Buzzards Bay on-ramp just off Route 25 on highway’s east side.
The turbine complex, which dominates the Buzzards Bay/East Wareham/South Plymouth vista, has passed regulatory review in Plymouth. Troy acknowledges he will have to consider Future Generation Wind’s legal argument that Bourne health authorities have no jurisdiction on the South Plymouth project.
Head of the Bay residents – and others in Buzzards Bay – have advised Bourne selectmen that, as wind farm neighbors, they will be forced to deal with noise, public health impacts, and environmental impacts caused by the turbines even as their property values decline. They have also suggested that selectmen retain special counsel in the fight against Future Generation Wind.
Most Bourne selectmen refrain from comment about the legal case against Future Generation Wind and are visibly uneasy when fielding questions about legal strategies in the public-comment segment of their meetings.
However, board member Donald Ellis says he doubts the court will support Bourne’s efforts to enforce its health regulations related to turbine protection on an out-of-town entity that has faced regulatory review in Plymouth.
Turbines in Bourne are a mixed success story. Four were built and operate along the Camp Edwards ridge above Sagamore; a fifth on the base is in the southern part of the installation.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy at Taylors Point continues to operate its turbine above Commander Ellis Field while college neighbors say that most afternoons they have to pull their blinds down on sunny days to avoid so-called flicker impacts.
New Generation Wind four years ago lost its effort to build turbines to underwrite energy costs in a long-planned green-environmental office park off Scenic Highway. The Cape Cod Commission ruled against that project, saying turbine impacts on a neighboring sub-division and the Cape Cod Canal vista would be too severe.
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