BARNSTABLE – A Superior Court judge has rejected multiple efforts to block the operation of controversial wind turbines built just over the Bourne town line in Plymouth but left the door open to future challenges.
On Friday, Judge Gary Nickerson denied the Bourne Board of Health’s request to stop Future Generation Wind from running the four 328-foot tall wind turbines on the Mann cranberry bog.
The Town of Bourne filed the complaint at the end of January challenging the operation of the four turbines in Plymouth, alleging that because they could affect Bourne citizens and are on a property that crosses between both towns, Future Generation Wind must adhere to the Bourne Board of Health’s rules.
The Board of Health’s regulations prohibit building or installing turbines in the town of Bourne without complying with the town’s wind energy bylaw.
“These regulations do not empower the board to regulate the construction of wind turbines in the town of Plymouth,” Nickerson wrote in his two-page ruling.
Despite the ruling, Nickerson indicated the turbines’ effects could be challenged by Bourne officials in the future.
“Nevertheless, a Board of Health has broad powers to regulate and prevent nuisances that affect the public health,” Nickerson wrote. “It remains to be seen as to whether the operation of the wind turbines will constitute a nuisance which affects the health of inhabitants of Bourne, and, if so, whether the Board takes lawful action thereon.”
Nickerson likewise denied an injunction request by a group of Bourne residents against the town, in which they claimed the town’s lawsuit against the ConEdison-owned turbines was a paper tiger that Bourne officials had no intention of pursuing.
“The evidence presented failed to demonstrate any impropriety in the conduct of the town’s affairs,” Nickerson wrote.
Ian Davies, the lead plaintiff on the citizens’ lawsuit against the town and the turbines, said he is disappointed by Nickerson’s decision, but does not plan to give up.
“We were disappointed but we understand the situation,” Davies said. “It’s not over ‘til it’s over.”
A judge is expected to weigh in on additional aspects of the citizens’ lawsuit this week, Davies said.
“This is not something that we are going to live with,” he said.
Future Generation Wind has since filed a motion to dismiss all charges in the town’s lawsuit. A hearing is scheduled for June 6.
The wind energy developer’s attorney, Jonathan Fitch, said he is pleased with Nickerson’s ruling.
ConEdison spokeswoman Christine Nevin declined to comment on the judge’s decision, citing the pending litigation.
Charles Sabatt, who is representing Bourne, deferred comment to Town Counsel Robert Troy, who was not immediately available for comment.
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