Wheeler Cowperthwaite | Cape Cod Times | Jul 24, 2019 | www.capecodtimes.com
BARNSTABLE – In the summer of 2015, Alberto Fernandez Mojica and Tiffany Gendron bought their house on Morning Mist Lane in Buzzards Bay.
By December 2016, four 500-foot ConEdison wind turbines started spinning just over the town line in Plymouth, an estimated 1,000 feet from their home.
Mojica and Gendron had no idea when they bought the house for $395,000 that Plymouth was set to approve the turbines, according to a complaint filed July 3 in Barnstable Superior Court.
The previous owner, Angela Chin, purchased the house Dec. 18, 2014, for $150,000, and knew that Plymouth was considering granting the permit for the wind turbines, attorney William Henchy wrote in the lawsuit.
According to the suit, Chin, a registered real estate broker, had Rosemary Victoria sell the house to Mojica and Grendon, but neither informed the couple that the turbines would likely be built, a violation of state regulations that require the disclosure of information that would influence prospective buyers.
“Angela S. Chin and Rosemary Victoria violated this regulation by not disclosing to the plaintiffs that four, massive, wind turbines would soon be constructed on the adjacent lot,” Henchy wrote.
According to state law, a consumer can send a “thirty-day demand letter” to the person who committed an “unfair or deceptive business act or practice,” Henchy wrote.
On Nov. 28, 2017, Henchy sent a letter to Victoria and Chin outlining his clients’ position and a demand for reimbursement for the lost value of the house, which he estimated to be 35 percent, or $138,250.
In a telephone interview, Henchy said the turbines are loud and a “substantial source of discomfort to my clients.”
In the demand letter, Henchy wrote that his clients are unable to sleep with windows open because the turbines are so loud.
According to the letter, Victoria told neighbors attending an open house that she had “no intention of sharing information about the proposed wind turbines with prospective buyers.”
Henchy wrote that Chin directed Victoria to withhold information about the turbines from prospective buyers.
“Your incentive to conceal the fact that these turbines had been permitted and would soon be constructed from prospective buyers is obvious,” Henchy wrote. “You each profited from concealing this information from my clients. They, conversely, have been greatly damaged.”
The lawsuit asks for three times the reduced value of the house and attorney’s fees.
Victoria sent a handwritten response to Henchy, dated Dec. 15, 2017, but postmarked Jan. 9, 2018. In the response, she denied wrongdoing and also denied talking to the neighbors about the turbines. Chin also signed the letter.
Victoria wrote that it is the buyer’s responsibility to have a contract approved by an attorney and that because the buyers lived in the area before purchasing the Morning Mist Lane home, “won’t they know more about the area than Ms. Chin (Bridgewater) and me (Attleboro)?”
Neither Chin nor Victoria could be reached.
According to records from the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons, Victoria’s real estate license was “surrendered by discipline,” but no date is listed. Chin has an active license.
In October, the Bourne Board of Health found the turbines are a nuisance and sent a letter to the Plymouth Board of Health, Planning Board, Board of Selectmen and Zoning Board of Appeals, which is responsible for licensing of the turbines.
Bourne Board of Health Chairwoman Kathleen Peterson said as far as she knows, Plymouth has not replied to Bourne’s letters.
She said she hoped the state would “step in and correct the situation,” but nothing has happened and she wants to address residents affected by the turbines.
“I’d love to have answers, but I don’t have any,” Peterson said. “I don’t like not having an answer.”
Bourne Health Agent Terri Guarino did not return requests for comment and information.
URL to article: https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2019/07/25/bourne-homeowners-file-suit-over-turbines/