The Falmouth Board of Selectmen took no action regarding Building Commissioner Rodman L. Palmer’s order to remove Wind 1 at their Tuesday meeting, January 2, but did say they will discuss the matter further at future meetings.
Following a complaint from Fire Tower Road resident Mark J. Cool, Mr. Palmer determined Wind 1 was a non-complying structure and ordered its removal. The approximately 400-foot-tall turbine was last used in September 2015, after the Massachusetts Court of Appeals ruled the turbine needed a special permit from the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals in order to continue operation. The town’s Wind Energy System bylaw states that any facility that fails to operate for 12 consecutive months is considered abandoned; approximately 28 months have past since Wind 1 was last used.
Selectmen Chairman Susan L. Moran read Mr. Palmer’s December 19 letter to Mr. Cool, in which he wrote “I presently intend to direct the Town of Falmouth to prepare and submit to me a plan for its dismantling and removal from its present location, and request that plan be submitted by May 31, 2018.”
Reading the letter was the extent of the action taken by selectmen on Tuesday. Ms. Moran acknowledged the board has received numerous e-mails regarding the wind turbines. She encouraged the public to continue sending their comments or questions to the board.
Correspondence to the board of selectmen can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“You will see further discussion on future selectmen’s agendas,” Ms. Moran said.
In a December 30 e-mail to selectmen Mr. Cool requested that the board consider the impact this order has on Wind 2.
“In reaching his decision Wind 1 is a noncomplying structure, the building commissioner determined that Wind 1 falls within the locally enumerated code of zoning bylaw. The key point for the board’s consideration is whether a ‘dismantling and removal plan’ for Wind 1 comprehensively includes all related pieces, parts and portions of the wind turbine issue,” Mr. Cool wrote.
He asked the board to consider whether Wind 2 should be included as part of this directive, if taking that action is within their authority or if they need to direct Town Manager Julian M. Suso to request that Mr. Palmer consider a revised directive incorporating Wind 2 as part of the dismantling and removal plan.
Unlike Wind 1, Wind 2 has been used in the past 12 months, meaning it would not be considered abandoned by the Wind Energy System bylaw. Wind 2 was shut down in June 2017 after Barnstable County Superior Court judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II upheld a zoning board of appeals decision deeming the turbines a nuisance.
In October, The Green Center Inc. of Hatchville and 12 Falmouth residents filed a motion to intervene regarding this court order. Judge Moriarty rejected this motion in December. The Green Center appealed this decision on December 19.
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