Turbine Bylaw will be Group Effort

When a new bylaw spelling out regulations on future wind turbine construction in Falmouth is written, it will likely be the result of a consensus-building process among town officials, developers, and abutters of the controversial Wind 1 turbine.

At a joint meeting Monday night, Selectmen and the Planning Board moved closer to a new bylaw governing the construction of wind turbines in Falmouth. Edith Netter, the consultant hired by the town to assist with a consensus-building approach to the controversial issue, said her preliminary interviews with residents, developers, and others had revealed much division, but also “a fair amount of common ground.”

Neighbors of the already functioning Wind 1 turbine have made no secret of their frustration with the machine, reporting health and quality-of-life issues including headaches, insomnia, and anxiety, as well as concerns over diminished property values. Netter reported that her initial research showed that the feasibility study conducted prior to Wind 1's construction had focused on economic and environmental issues, and had made no attempt to account for the impact on the health of abutters.

Also, Netter said, many of the residents felt victimized by “a bait and switch, namely, we thought the turbines were going to be 660 kilowatts, but in fact they were twice that large.”

Netter said developers were no less frustrated. Some even declined to be interviewed, insisting that any further regulations would mean they would be unable to construct any future turbines in Falmouth. Those who did speak to Netter told her that “neighbors were less than civil,” and that no health issues could be linked to wind turbines, although “there might be annoyance.”

Despite the divide, Netter said, most parties she interviewed expressed interest in the consensus-building process, which would involve continuous, informal input from all concerned, and likely a compromise solution in the drafting of the new bylaw. The process itself, she said, was a powerful tool in reaching agreements between conflicting interests.

“There's something that occurs in a consensus-building process,” she said. “People role up their sleeves and start to work together.”

To illustrate her point, Netter told the boards about a mediation she conducted early in her career, in which the simple act of bringing a box of muffins helped loosen a tense and adversarial atmosphere, eventually leading to a compromise.

“Something just started to work,” she said. “I don't know, I didn't put anything in the muffins.”

With Netter's recommendation in hand, the Planning Board will decide, at a meeting August 30, whether to place an article on the fall town meeting warrant requesting approval of, and funding for, the consensus-building program. The report of a special commission assembled by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to study the issue of wind turbines is expected to be released in late fall, and may set state guidelines on the technology, or at least provide towns like Falmouth with guidance in establishing their own bylaws.

Ralph Herbst, chairman of the Planning Board, stressed the importance if public feedback at all stages of the process.

“We are soliciting public input as we go through it, because this is a work in progress,” Herbst said. “If there's ever been a work in progress, this is going to be it.”

D mac August 28, 2011 at 01:19 PM
What would qualify. Bill . These psychosomatic illnesses are caused by the desire for compensation. Whether released or not. Your comparisons are ludicrous . There's going to be alot of people dying because people like you
sue hobart August 28, 2011 at 01:47 PM
There is nothing psychosomatic about what is happening here... Stop mincing details and come live here for a noreaster . Radiation cannot be seen or felt either... ! cigarette ( as in 1 visit to under a turbine) cannot kill you either. uv rays cannot be seen. Asbestos was the hot ticket for a good long while until they figured out all the facts. I and my neighbors have been imposed a full tilt dose of the equivalent of smoking, x rays and or uv rys 24/7. How right is that ? All the facts about siting turbines near homes are coming out! REAL science Will prove this out and is coming fast on this....Google up wind turbine syndrome to hear the same stuff and health effects happening WORLD WIDE... Comparing soldiers and residents is absurd, Both are tragic... A question on a more basic level.. Would you want to bring home and raise a baby under a turbine vibration... ? Vibro accoustic disease, learning and concentration issues... etc... Wind power out in the middle of nowhere... no need to have sacrifices ... do it right or don't do it at all...
windpower August 29, 2011 at 11:58 AM
Please look at the issues that the City of Salem is faceing with it's proposed site on public park land . Search Salem news and view the uproar .WIND POWER is SPIN POWER. Ps I make money with wind power every day ,and it does not come from a turbine .
Willis Montgomery III August 29, 2011 at 12:18 PM
Does anyone know how much our taxes will go up if the turbines are taken down? The revenue will have to be replaced somehow.
Willis Montgomery III August 29, 2011 at 12:43 PM
A busy street is about 70 decibels, a loud Harley is 92. Those would also fall under the World Health Organization guidelines that would cause sleep disruption. The regulation for vehicle noise is not enforced. The ice throw comment is just fear mongering. You have far greater chance of being involved in an automobile accident yet we all willingly drive. All noise creates headaches, nausea, sleep deprivation. Your neighborhood has more noise now that the turbines are there. You were used to less noise. The sound levels in your neighborhood similar to my neighborhood and lots of other towns. I would vote for an enforceable, enforced noise pollution by-law to reduce noise pollution that would benefit everyone.
Bill Carson August 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM
The older type gear driven wind turbines installed in Falmouth were built around 2003 to 2004 . The literature back then said that these turbines have a life of around twenty years . The facts are now out . Many of the gear driven turbines experience high maintenance problems as soon as two to three years . New direct-drive turbines promise to lower the cost of gear box problems in the older type turbines . When these turbines were proposed in Mattapoisett and Fairhaven the maintenance issues were brought up by the citizens group which I was president. The reliability problems associated with transmission or gearbox equipped wind turbines is expensive and the existing solutions of switching to direct drive gearless turbines is even more costly . I'm afraid the Falmouth wind turbines if left standing will be used by every NIMBY ,not in my back yard ,anti wind turbine resident . The MTC had been trying to unload these since 2005 and Falmouth ended up getting sucked in on a bad deal ! The turbines have national attention and I think it's a matter of time before they start to fail . Just google Portsmouth High School wind turbine check out the problems they have . These turbines are Falmouths Trojan Horse ...
Willis Montgomery III August 31, 2011 at 01:02 PM
How much more in taxes are you willing to pay to make up the lost revenue for taking the turbines down?
Bill Carson August 31, 2011 at 02:30 PM
The feasibility study has been completed pursuant to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. MTC Early Stage Feasibility Study Grant Summary was paid for and showed the turbines were feasible. Now comes the 50 residential home owners who disagree with the noise studies as do many others in other states . The turbines have become a health issue and need to be shut off at night and when wind speeds hit a certain speed . The turbines are no longer feasible .The cost of maintaining the turbines based with the gear driven technologhy out weighs keeping them . It won't be long before the federal government will be looking into how these two turbines were purchased with stimulus funds in 2009 as used turbines from the MTC who purchased them in 2005 and kept them in Texas at $3300.00 a month until 2009 . I am doing everything I can to bring national attention to how this whole deal went down and there should be some explainations how these turbines were sited so close to the homes .The MTC and the wind turbine manufacturer should pay to have them removed !
Bill Carson August 31, 2011 at 02:30 PM
I believe litigation is the only answer and hopefully the residents around these turbines seek damages for the loss of parts of their bundle of residential property rights ! Each home owner has a bundle of rights called sticks . When you remove one or more of these sticks for the greater good of the town then those residents have a right to compensation . Let me ask you a question ; If you leave these two turbines up how much in legal fees and compensation will the Town of Falmouth have to pay ? When I say the Town of Falmouth I mean the Jill and Joe taxpayers .
sue hobart August 31, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Well as the closest home to the ALL FOR PROFIT TO AN ALREADY MILLIONNAIRE WEBB turbine... And someone who can longer sleep in or enjoy her home in any way... I will say that i have contacted 4 lawyers now and none of them will take my case for less than a $30,ooo retainer plus half any settlement I might get... So lucky me...I get to pay for the town to fight my neighbors with my taxes and for subsidizing the millionnaire that got the second outdated turbine erected for state grant money... who then took the money and locked it all up in his limited liability corporation so he can't be held liable for these very shady and very profitable dealings. ( 3 to 500 grand per year best guess...not a public service in sight there either) My head pounds, my home vibrates, my property value is nowhere and now do I risk going up against a millionnaire to fight for my health? Welcome to green America... as in green money money money... I swear if I could find a place nobody would do this to me again I would even stop using electricity , gas and whatever... Just make these damn headaches go away.. I had the best day of my whole summer sunday during irene...He turned the thing off and I could think, breathe and rest... Almost torture to remind me all I have lost when it came back on...
Willis Montgomery III August 31, 2011 at 07:53 PM
why you be hatin' on millionaires? there's nothing wrong with concentrating the wealth, it makes society more stable right? I thought lowering their taxes was a good thing, makes them buy more stuff and then throw more stuff alway, and all those big houses require more base electric load which requires more coal, nuke, gas and trash burning to make electricity. Totally awesome. I thought ya'll were all for lower taxes up there, why the sudden change of heart? By the way, the headaches, home vibrations and sinking property values continue in Teaticket too. It's not just your neighborhood that has a noise pollution problem.
D mac August 31, 2011 at 08:22 PM
I'm still waiting for an address where I can hear and feel the effects. I was under a turbine every time I went to listen. So I'm trying to understand your complaints folks. But I want to see for myself
sue hobart August 31, 2011 at 09:41 PM
dmac... think about a sprinkler... is most of the water underneath it or swirling out off the sides.?! Pressures is released from the top center and blades and fans out from there... thus they are not "noisy" It's simple basic physics and if you work your head from that angle you might begin to understand. An apparently small waterfall can feed a big wide strong brook... All I can say is my house feels a bit like living in a submarine and i am not suited to that... And frankly , believe it or not noise has nothing to do with it.. Happy to let you come by and experience the feeling . I am on lower blacksmith shop (476) which is the end of gifford street... please be respectful enough to call first if you want to come inside... but on any windy day you very surely will be able to feel the thumping on the right hand side down by my studio. You my come anytime during the day hours. I do have a very long driveway and dogs so please drive carefully as you come into the house...you can email me to get the phone number but i do not feel good about posting it here tosuehobart@gmail.com.
sue hobart September 02, 2011 at 02:46 PM
no more comments when it comes to actually getting the facts? nobody stopping by...?
Bill Carson September 02, 2011 at 04:20 PM
The lack of renewable energy scam enforcement in Massachusetts by Attorney General Martha Coakley is a big part of the problem here on Cape Cod . The Democratic party should change their name to the Social Democratic Party . President Obama is expected to announce a new jobs program which includes commercial wind turbines and Gov Patrick argues we need the government to invest in renewable energy but mostly commercial wind power . Support for wind energy at the Liberal Democrat party conference last Sept 2010 confirmed the political posture of the Democratic Party . Therese Murray was elected Senator of the Plymouth and Barnstable District in 1992 and became the first woman President of the Massachusetts Senate. She knows exactley what is going on with the semi-quasi state agency the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the liberal press ! The state is taking our residential property rights through poor wind turbine siting and making us second class citizens !
Bill Carson September 02, 2011 at 04:20 PM
The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. The state through its semi quasi state agency and the cities and towns along with the agenda of the current governor are creating a second class group of citizens with the poor siting of commercial wind turbines. The wind turbine fray is sparking class warfare. Time after time the blue collar section of town after town has been selected to lose their property rights for the good of all the others in town. We feel bewildered and betrayed by our own government, which is maliciously trying to steal our land through the poor siting of commercial wind turbines. We have lost our democratic rights and have become second class citizens, facing the theft of our land through regulation. Massachusetts State law forbids the creation of second-class citizens
D mac September 02, 2011 at 04:36 PM
The current energy policy in the united states is imperial take over. Using the pentagon to post pone our the eventual inevitable turn towards renewables is a moral outrage . The answers are right here at home. Fuck building bombs, build green energy
Mark September 02, 2011 at 04:53 PM
D Mac if I built a million wind turbines and solar panels how many fossil fuel plants could I take off the grid? With current technology the only two options we have are fuel cells for cars, which they say is 20 years off which is also what they said in the 1980's so we'll see when that technology is achieved on a viable level. The other is Nuclear power, right now all we have is fission which is the cleanest safest energy in the world. We are probably 25 to 50 years away from feasible energy from fusion but those are the only current options we have.
Willis Montgomery III September 02, 2011 at 07:04 PM
What about about efficiency? If you reduce the amount you use, you need to make less. This is why people with large electrical demands cause the need for more power plants to begin with. One could argue that those who use more or waste more electricity/gas etc are the reason we need wind turbines, coal plants and oil wars. It costs a lot of tax payer dollars to support a foreign policy to secure oil and energy sources. Energy efficiency could significantly reduce our need to occupy other sovereign nations and keep our folks home and out of harms way. While I would agree we can't get off fossil fuels entirely, we could do significantly better than we are doing now to reduce our consumption of oil and electricity. I've reduced my oil consumption (diesel for heating and gasoline for driving) by about 75% in the last 3 years. I've reduced my electricity consumption by 68%. I didn't need a wind turbine, a coal plant or even a democrat, tea partier or republican to do it. Saving energy is patriotic.
Mark September 02, 2011 at 07:09 PM
I agree that efficiency is a great idea as well but as you say it is not a solution. I'm very energy cautious I unplug things not in use and minimize what I use. I also drive a diesel car which gets about 45 mpg. But I don't like laws associated with efficiency if someone wants to be more inneffcient then that is their money they're wasting.
Willis Montgomery III September 02, 2011 at 07:27 PM
I'm not sure I agree with the comment "it's their money they're wasting". It costs a lot of tax payer money to secure energy sources in foreign countries. We have to occupy sovereign nations. That is expensive. The idea that ones actions don't effect others is a tough position to defend. If someone uses 1,000-2,000 kWh and another person uses 10 kWh, the person using the higher amount uses more base load generation capacity and that effects us all(infrastructure costs, pollution costs, NOISE pollution costs). Just because it's someone's right to waste money/energy doesn't mean wasting energy and money doesn't effect all of us. I think we need a blend of sources, wind, solar, tidal, and yeah, nukes, and natural gas. Efficiency *is* a solution to part of the problem. Are you burning locally made biodiesel in your car? That would be cool. How many kWh did you use last month? I used 43. Sure government sucks, but we have to have some government. If we were more efficient we would need less government to go get more oil/energy with the military.
D mac September 02, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Mark I know what a huge unprecedented task lies ahead.you don't have to tell me. But it has to be done and we had better get to work. There is no single good solution to our energy problems we need to start doing every thing we can. here at home
D mac September 04, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Hi sue I'm going to stop by as you know. I would have prefered a neutral site as you know also. But I'll take what I can get. It's seems to me the turbine opponents are not to keen on the pubic hearing for themselves. How about you bill any suggestions
sue hobart September 04, 2011 at 01:51 AM
You guys are having fun battling this out aren't you...? I am glad that for you this is an academic discussion. The pros and cons can be debated ad infinitum... have at it. The turbines in Falmouth are not saving the planet and I would go so far as to say they are doing major damage to their cause because of the unsafe placement. This is not a cutting edge installation , this is a stupid greedy and ill researched bait and switch gig... I stand behind my offer... and visit on a windy day... Noreasters are the most telling winds.. If you are genuinely interested in really experiencing the deal bring a laptop, crossword puzzle or some kind of cognitive task and sit in the line if the thing and see how long it takes you... That is the real hit.. The brain is so busy trying to process the unnatural energy coming at it that it takes a lot of energy from the cognition level. But hey what do I know? I only live it. This little exercise is getting old.. The
D mac September 04, 2011 at 01:07 PM
Sue I was going to call you yesterday. But on my way home I noticed the turbines were shut down . I've been to the base of one .. Many times and was completely amazed a how benign they were. I was told I needed to be out in front of one to gauge the effects . As you can see I'm attempting to do just that.
D mac September 04, 2011 at 09:09 PM
Well I guess anybody who's been following this thread knows I'm more than a little bias. It's my belief that we (America) needs to aggressively pursue renewables in every way we can. That said I had to take into consideration the complaints of the turbine naysayers . I have been underneath the turbine in the industrial park many times under varying wind conditions . Every time let me repeat every time I was amazed at how quite and effortlessely they operated . But I was confronted with an argument that stated I could not appreciate the disturbance while directly underneath . Well today I drove around until I found the route to the waste water treatment plant I stopped at the gate looked and turned right parked my truck and followed a path up a small hill and stood about a 100 yards in front of one of the generators. It was virtually soundless and I certainly did not feel any presure waves. It maybe one of the most quite spots in Falmouth . It's certainly a lot quieter than most of the main streets. But please don't take my word for it go out there your selves. From down town Falmouth drive out past the high school and keep your eyes open for a turn to the left I think it was blacksmith dr. It's pretty much under one of the turbines follow that street keeping your eyes open to the right you will see the sign for the waste water treatment plant take that right and follow the road until you get to the gate. Take the walk that I did,, and see and hear for yourselves.
sue hobart September 04, 2011 at 09:25 PM
Thanks for the 5 minute decision. You are completely wrong D mac. Try looking me, neil andersen, barry funfar and brian elder in the eyes and making your final decision. But hey it;s great to have such a brilliant mind at work .. You and the politicians and know it alls have a special room up in heaven... Hope I am not on the same floor.
D mac September 04, 2011 at 10:58 PM
those were my observations each time in each position. if i had observed differently i would have described my experience differently. 5 times to given you the benefit of doubt and made the effort to understand your side of the story. i explained at the top of my letter my bias. i have never tried to hide that... thats why i invite anyone one interested to make there own observations what do you want me to do lie?
D mac September 04, 2011 at 11:25 PM
sue i have made an effort to understand your position. i have made observations with varying wind speeds in different locations. i shared my bias with the readers. I'm not trying to hide anything. thats why i invite the the readers to make their own observations. I'm not lying sue...
sue hobart September 04, 2011 at 11:53 PM
neveyingr said you are lying... but you have not experienced what i have to go through with this... I am sick of trying... if you were one of us you would know... Just be careful..More are on the way and hopefully not in YOUR backyard.


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