Recently, a newspaper in Falmouth, Massachusetts, reported a decision by a Massachusetts Superior Court Judge in a case where he granted relief after listening to the arguments that operation of two wind turbines constituted a nuisance. While several other lawsuits involving “complaints of excessive noise, harmful health effects, drops in property values and officials failing to follow proper rules as they allowed projects to move forward” have been reported and would make interesting reading to your readers, Judge Moriarity II established a definition of “nuisance” for this case between a town and its Zoning Board of Appeals.
“Injurious” and “nuisance” are words often found in by-laws and ordinances. The article provided numerous cases discussing meanings of words, injurious, unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the property of another, locality, everyday life, financial benefit, harm or risk, noise as a nuisance, and the number of people concerned by the noise and the magnitude of the industry named in the complaint. Reviewing all the reasons expressed in each of the cases referenced, Judge Moriarity II concluded that the operation of the wind turbines and the consequent sound emissions constitute an unreasonable interference with the complainant’s enjoyment of their property, and constitute a nuisance.
The Zoning Board of Appeals had ordered the Building Commissioner to take whatever steps were necessary to eliminate the nuisance. The judge concluded the appropriate remedy was the immediate cessation of the operation of the turbines. He decided the Zoning Board of Appeals should be affirmed to the extent the operation of these two wind towers constituted a nuisance, and ordered the town cease and desist the operation of the wind turbines forthwith.
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