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Plymouth health board reviewing wind turbines on Bourne line

PLYMOUTH – Larry McGrath hasn’t used his patio in two years. The vibrations, noise and pulsating lights, he says, make it impossible to enjoy what should be a serene and peaceful outdoor setting at his home on Lake Drive near the Bourne border.

The source of these sensations emanates from a series of large wind turbines that began generating power four years ago. Located in Plymouth on the line with Bourne, the 500-foot structures have been a concern to neighbors in both towns since the start of operations.

“I’m angry,” McGrath said. “The vibrations are disturbing. I once watched as a television monitor slid across the table.”

McGrath’s not the only one upset about what’s happening in this quiet community. Numerous neighbors packed the Board of Health meeting last week to complain about the huge turbines looming over their homes near Mare Pond.

The board is taking a strong stand on the issue, terming it a “public nuisance” and vowing to investigate further. Members voted unanimously to address these concerns at the next health board meeting at Town Hall on Feb. 26.

Organized as the Buzzards Bay Citizens Action Committee, neighbors listed a litany of complaints said to be caused by the turbines, including stress, anxiety, nervousness, depression, sleep disturbances and more.

“You can feel a throbbing sensation from the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of the blades,” said Karen McMahon, a Bourne resident, who also discussed a series of “broken promises” by the town regarding health safety with the turbines.

“You have the authority and obligation to shut them down,” she said. “We urge you to do so.”

Ian Davies of Bourne told the board that he has to put cardboard in his windows to block a red strobe light that flashes at night. “It’s a nuisance and annoying,” he said. He also described how his family tried to use his deck last Easter but had to move indoors despite nice weather.

“We couldn’t handle the noise,” he said.

Veterinarian Alberto Fernandez, who lives in Bourne, cited a long list of health risks associated with living too close to wind turbines, including hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

“These devices are injurious to public health,” he said. “We request a cease-and-desist order.”

McGrath noted that all the homes in the community were built and occupied before the structures were installed in 2016. By his tally, 38 people have sold their homes and left the neighborhood since the turbines became operational.

“I’m not anti-wind power; this is a siting issue,” he said. “They should have never been built so close to homes.”

The wind turbines were constructed in 2016 by Future Generation Wind, which then sold them to Con Edison, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the country. Buzzards Bay Citizens Action Committee has complained to the utility, state legislators and agencies, and town officials in both Bourne and Plymouth since the problems were first detected, but have had little success in seeing remedial action.

In addition to the Board of Health, Plymouth’s Select Board is looking into the problems experienced by neighbors. Select Board Chair Ken Tavares attended the session last week and invited members of the Buzzards Bay Citizens Action Committee to attend its next meeting.

“I understand clearly what’s going on,” he said. “I worked under one and had to close the blinds every afternoon because of the flicker. I’m sympathetic to your concerns.”