The jury decision that a nuisance could not be found for the Andersens has been cited by those who want to continue to litigate not just against the neighbors but against three separate decisions by our own Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals.
The verdict might have been quite different if the jury had had fair access to all the facts. Indeed, the judge considered calling a mistrial after opening statements by accomplished insurance company lawyers, supporting the town, limited so many facts. Facts hidden from the jury included:
- The jury did not know that the Falmouth ZBA had determined that there was a nuisance at the Andersen home.
- The jury did not learn that both turbines were under a court-ordered injunction to operate only half the time (only during daylight hours), because the high bar of detrimental impacts had been recognized by a Superior Court judge.
- The jury did not know that a special permit had been denied by the Falmouth ZBA and that Wind 1 has been completely off since September 2015.
- The jury did not know that infrasound tests have been conducted outside and inside the Andersen home, showing significant negative impacts on the residents.
- The jury did not have a site visit. The jury never heard this industrial wind turbine noise.
- The jury did not know that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection conducted sound tests showing multiple violations of the state noise pollution limit of 10 decibels.
Considering the circumstances above, the result was—sadly—not surprising.
We understand that for those not involved, the problems caused by the wind turbines are not easy to understand and that the seven-year chain of events is confusing. However, the fundamental problem is simple. These 400-foot-high industrial turbines are too big to be so close (a quarter mile) to residences.
Falmouth’s ZBA members made multiple visits, in varying wind conditions, to the Andersen home. They listened to the turbines for themselves before concluding that the turbines’ effects are real and cannot be ignored.
Contrast this with jury members who never made a site visit, didn’t hear the turbines and didn’t know that our ZBA had found a nuisance!
The selectmen have now paused in the legal process. A settlement that respects their own ZBA and the suffering and costs of thousands of dollars by the neighbors is in their hands.
Kathie C. Mount and Day O. Mount, Blacksmith Shop Road, Falmouth
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