June 1, 2018

Falmouth settles wind turbine lawsuits

By Brad Cole | The Falmouth Enterprise | June 1, 2018 | www.capenews.net

The Town of Falmouth has settled 10 nuisance complaints with residents regarding the two wind turbines located at the wastewater treatment facility on Blacksmith Shop Road.

In total, the town will pay $255,000 to the 10 complainants. Eight complainants, Mark J. Cool of Fire Tower Road, Terri L. Pentifallo-Drummey and Todd A. Drummey of Blacksmith Shop Road, Kathryn L. Elder and Brian W. Elder of Blacksmith Shop Road, Robert S. Laird of Blacksmith Shop Road, John J. Ford of Blacksmith Shop Road and Linda H. Ohkagawa of West Falmouth Highway settled for $22,500 each after a mediation session conducted by the town’s insurance agency, the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association, in March. Barry A. Funfar and Diane C. Funfar of Ridgeview Drive settled for $37,500 each earlier this week.

“Me, and I think everybody else realized that bringing this to fruition was a matter of who had the deeper pockets,” Mr. Cool said. “We were sick of paying out each and every month for attorney bills as the wheels of justice kept slowing down and slowing down.”

He described himself as happy that the case is over, but disappointed by the full measure of the outcome.

“It was kind of a lame victory, because in the settlement, MIIA specified they are not being held liable or at fault for anything,” Mr. Cool said, noting this would likely take a court judgment.

He said it seemed like the Falmouth Board of Selectmen wrung their hands of this case.

“At the end of the day, after eight years, I would have hoped to have some acknowledgement we bit off more than we could chew,” Mr. Cool said. “It was a good concept, but the implementation was poor.”

Town Counsel Frank K. Duffy said all of the complainants who live in the Blacksmith Shop Road area have settled their nuisance complaints.

Mr. Duffy said the only pending case related to the wind turbines is the motion to intervene filed by The Green Center Inc. of Hatchville and 12 Falmouth residents. This motion was denied by Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II last November, though that decision was appealed.

“There are no pending cases that would result in additional payout,” Mr. Duffy said.

He said this brings the town’s eight-year legal battle with residents in the area to a close.

“It pretty much brings it to an end,” Mr. Duffy said. “The next chapter is to figure out what to do with the wind turbines that cannot operate.”

At their May 21 meeting, Falmouth selectmen approved a draft letter responding to Building Commissioner Rodman L. Palmer’s order to remove the turbine, which has not operated for over a year. Mr. Palmer’s order came following a complaint filed by Mr. Cool.

“Be advised that the town intends to dismantle and remove Wind 1 from its present site,” Town Manager Julian M. Suso wrote in a draft letter approved by selectmen.

The letter states the process of dismantling and removal of the wind turbine will take 18 to 24 months.

“I’m glad they are taking steps in the right direction regarding Wind 1,” Mr. Cool said.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2018/06/01/falmouth-settles-wind-turbine-lawsuits/