Media Excluded from Falmouth Wind Victums Agreement
Posted in the Newton Forum
#1 Dec 19, 2012
Falmouth wind panel not ready to present recommendations
By sean teehan
December 19, 2012
FALMOUTH The panel charged with recommending options to mitigate alleged harm caused by two town-owned turbines failed to meet another self-imposed deadline Tuesday night.
Members of the Falmouth Wind Turbine Options Analysis Process planned on finalizing language in a draft recommendation of four mitigation options they plan to present to selectmen, but only made it through half the material in a 3½-hour meeting.
The panel trudged through language in less than 10 pages of material during its 22nd meeting. It agreed on the phrasing for the options of leaving the turbines running with as little curtailment allowed by the state Department of Environmental Protection's standards and the option of cutting back operation during certain times of day.
The proposed recommendation of leaving the turbines on with little curtailment includes the stipulation that the town may buy homes from some turbine abutters who claim the turbines cause them harm.
For nearly three years, homeowners living near the Wind 1 and Wind 2 turbines at the wastewater treatment on Blacksmith Shop Road have complained the machines cause headaches, vertigo and a host of other health problems.
In January, Falmouth's selectmen announced they hired the Consensus Building Institute of Cambridge to form a group charged with creating a consensus of the best option to mitigate abutters' concerns. CBI later conceded that the group of abutters, town officials and other representatives would not be able to form a consensus and would rather recommend possible solutions to selectmen.
Process panel members originally hoped to have recommendations for selectmen in time for November's town meeting, but now strive to finish by mid-January.
Stacie Smith of CBI, who facilitates the panel's meetings, instructed members not to keep draft recommendations from the media.
The panel will apparently not include in its recommendation a way for the town to determine how many homes would need to be purchased or home values.
Members representing abutters affected by the turbines insisted that the recommendation state that their group did not believe curtailing the turbines' operations would effectively solve their problems.
Katherine Elder, who represents affected neighbors, said curtailments of operation would still interrupt abutters' sleep and cause health problems.
"It's a pretty big concern, for the whole town," Elder said.
Members agreed to meet from 6 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 8 and 9 at Falmouth Public Library to finalize the language, rather than meeting only on Jan. 9, as they previously planned.
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