BARNSTABLE – A Barnstable Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the town of Falmouth to shut down two town-owned wind turbines.
Judge Cornelius Moriarty issued his decision at about 4:30 p.m. in the case which pitted the town against its own Zoning Board of Appeals and a neighbor of the turbines. The Board of Selectmen had appealed a decision by the zoning board that found the turbines are a nuisance.
In an emergency meeting Tuesday night, selectmen instructed the town manager to comply with Moriarty’s order.
“We are going to abide by what the judge has ordered,” said Doug Jones, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
Known as Wind 1 and Wind 2, the two turbines at the Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Facility have been subjected to a litany of lawsuits, with neighbors saying the turbines have negatively affected their health and enjoyment of their properties.
Moriarty’s decision was welcomed by Barry Funfar, who lives next to one of the turbines and has sunk more than $100,000 into fighting their operation.
“We’ve been waiting for this decision for six months,” Funfar said.
The last action in the case was in December.
“My wife and I have been taxed by these turbines, right out of our home. … I’m very, very happy,” Funfar said.
Wind 1 has already been shut down under a prior court ruling, and Wind 2 had been reduced to 12-hour operation cycles.
In their emergency meeting Tuesday, the selectmen only touched on what to do as of 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, when Wind 2 is scheduled to go back online for its next 12-hour cycle.
Jones declined to comment on what the town plans to do after losing its appeal.
“The Town is evaluating the decision with its attorneys,” according to a statement issued by Town Manager Julian Suso.
The selectmen are scheduled to meet again on Monday in executive session to further discuss the judge’s decision, which contradicts another court decision.
In April, a Barnstable Superior Court jury sided with the town, saying there was no nuisance at a Wind 1 neighbor’s property.
There are several other lawsuits working their way through the courts, and while he looks forward to seeing what the selectmen decide, Funfar said he sees Tuesday decision as a “happy bump” in what will likely remain a long road ahead.
“My wife is going to be so happy to hear this,” he said.