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Falmouth wind turbine appeal filed in state Land Court

FALMOUTH – The state’s Land Court will be the venue for a lawsuit brought by the town against members of its own Zoning Board of Appeals that challenges the denial of a special permit for Wind 1, one of two municipal wind turbines.

Falmouth filed the suit Thursday, according to online court records. The suit has been assigned to the “fast track,” which indicates a trial before Judge Robert Foster should take place within 16 months.

The town had the option between filing the appeal in the state’s Land Court or Barnstable Superior Court. Selectmen announced at their April 25 meeting that the town would appeal the decision.

The Zoning Board of Appeals denied the special permit for the turbine April 14 after the majority of its members found fault with the town’s application on more than one point, including a zoning requirement that the turbine known as Wind 1 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.

The zoning board’s denial of the special permit means Wind 1 will remain dormant in accordance with a September cease-and-desist order from the board.

The suit names the five members of the ZBA as individual defendants in the case.

The town’s two turbines at the town’s wastewater treatment facility on Blacksmith Shop Road have been a source of controversy since they were installed more than five years ago. 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 turbine be deactivated.