PLYMOUTH — Residents of both Bourne and Plymouth gathered in Town Hall Wednesday night to ask the Board of Health for help in their fight against the three Future Generation Wind turbines along Route 25.
A handful of members of the Buzzards Bay Citizens Action Committee and their neighbors in Plymouth argued that the town’s lack of related health bylaws made it possible for the turbines to be built. Since the turbines started spinning in June, neighbors say they have disrupted their sleep patterns and caused stress.
When Ian Davies, the chairman of the committee, had students from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy help with yard work at his home near the turbines across Buttermilk Bay, they commented that it was like being at Logan Airport, he said.
“The fact that Plymouth doesn’t have them (bylaws), it’s mind boggling,” said Lawrence McGrath, a Plymouth attorney who lives near the turbines located on the Mann cranberry bog.
The turbines could not have been built in Bourne without a variance, but the developers wisely chose to locate them on the bog just over the town line in Plymouth, he said.
The town of Bourne filed a lawsuit against Future Generation Wind, arguing that because the turbines are on a lot that is partially in Bourne, they should be subject to the town’s bylaws. A Barnstable Superior Court judge dismissed the case, saying that since they are all located in Plymouth, Bourne officials have no say. But the judge left it open for the town to seek additional action.
“Nevertheless, a Board of Health has broad powers to regulate and prevent nuisances that affect the public health,” Judge Gary Nickerson wrote in his decision this spring. “It remains to be seen as to whether the operation of the wind turbines will constitute a nuisance which affects the health of inhabitants of Bourne, and, if so, whether the Board takes lawful action thereon.”
Plymouth Board of Health member Richard Manfredi suggested that the residents go to the building department, because Plymouth has zoning regulations for turbines.
The board, which had dwindled to only two members after lengthy hearings on horses and poultry, accepted models of other town's turbine bylaws from McGrath to study. There are five members on the board; three members are required for a quorum.
“We'll do whatever we can for you,” Manfredi said. “Things like this take time.”