Articles filed under Legal from Massachusetts
An eight-year legal battle between the town and residents who live near two controversial wind turbines at the municipal wastewater treatment plant off Blacksmith Shop Road has been brought to a close with the recent settlement of three remaining court cases involving monetary damages.
Judge Cornelius Moriarty has denied a motion to intervene in the case filed recently by the Green Center, a nonprofit educational institute in Hatchville that supports ecological projects, and a group of Falmouth residents. They were looking for the judge to alter his ruling and come up with a more moderate solution to the problem. The motion filed by the Green Center and denied by Judge Moriarty can be accessed by clicking the document icon on this page.
A Hatchville-based group, seeking reconsideration of a court judgment that permanently shut down two town-owned wind turbines, does not have the standing needed to file a motion to intervene and has made its move too late, according to an attorney representing a neighbor of one of the turbines.
Last week, The Green Center and a dozen citizens filed the motion asking to be allowed to intervene, even though the trial is over and a ruling has already been issued. In documents, they argue taxpayer interests had not been adequately protected by the town.
The motion argues that no evidence was presented during or after the trial regarding potential remedies available to mitigate the noise from the turbines. In addition, it states that no consideration was given to the “enormous costs associated with ceasing operation of the turbines.”
The Falmouth Board of Selectmen voted Monday night not to appeal a judge’s decision ordering the shutdown of the town’s two massive wind turbines. “It’s time to put the matter behind us and move forward,” board Chairwoman Susan Moran said.
The seven-year saga of Falmouth’s two town wind turbines may now be coming to an end.
As Falmouth selectmen consider challenging a cease-and-desist order that left the community’s second wind turbine inoperable, they are taking into account all legal action surrounding the town-owned machines near Blacksmith Shop Road.
Judge Cornelius Moriarty upheld the local zoning board’s finding that two 1.65-megawatt turbines at the town’s wastewater treatment facility were a nuisance, and he ordered them shut down. ...A few days after Moriarty’s June 20 decision, selectmen announced they had to gather more information before deciding what to do next, since the town could be on the hook for dismantling the turbines as well as loans and grants used to buy and install them if the turbines remain offline. The total potential cost to the town was previously estimated at $14 million.
Falmouth Board of Selectmen halted operation of the town’s second wind turbine Tuesday, June 20, after a Barnstable County Superior Court judge deemed the town-owned power source a nuisance.
A Barnstable Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the town of Falmouth to shut down two town-owned wind turbines. ...In an emergency meeting Tuesday night, selectmen instructed the town manager to comply with Moriarty’s order.
Despite the decision, the turbine known as Wind 1 — one of two turbines at the Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Facility — must remain shut down as the town battles its own Zoning Board of Appeals in Land Court and faces off with neighbors in a morass of additional legal challenges.
In a complaint filed in October, the Reillys wrote, "It has been over four years now that we have respectfully requested that the BOH order an abatement to eliminate the strobing impacts to our property which, as described back in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and now here in 2016, adversely impacts our family's health and well-being."
The town has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees for outside attorneys to handle much of the related legal work; it has also lost revenue that was to come from the sale of electricity from the turbines.
Town meeting approved more money Tuesday for legal fees tied to the embattled municipal wind turbines. ...$260,000 is for costs tied to wind turbine lawsuits. The selectmen recently approved mediation to try to settle the bulk of the cases, but a suit brought by Barry and Diane Funfar is due to go to trial Thursday in Barnstable Superior Court. Two more cases are likely to go to trial in the spring, said Town Counsel Frank Duffy.
In what might be the most definitive sign that Cape Wind officials have given up on the long-running and seemingly unattainable dream of building a wind farm in Nantucket Sound, the company has moved to dismiss its appeal seeking to extend state permits to connect the project to the electric grid.
Selectmen Chairman Douglas H. Jones said at a recent selectmen’s meeting that the litigation process has gone on long enough regarding the operation of the structures. The board met in executive session and voted in favor of talking with plaintiffs as a means to resolve several lawsuits.
The town will begin talks with neighbors of two municipal wind turbines in an attempt to find a solution to the nine lawsuits pending in various courts over the operation of the machines.
Cape Wind’s long-running quest to establish a wind farm on the Nantucket Sound hit another hitch Tuesday as a three-judge federal Appeals Court panel reversed lower court decisions that had found regulators complied with environmental and endangered species laws in permitting the project.
Today Wind 1 sits idle in the Cape Cod breeze. Wind 2 continues to operate under court imposed restrictions, but it faces the same legal challenges that put Wind 1 out of business. The town’s cost to decommission or relocate the turbines would be exorbitant. In hindsight, Falmouth should never have placed giant wind turbines so close to homes.