Building Commissioner Rodman L. Palmer determined that the town’s wind turbine, Wind 1, is a non-complying structure and needs to come down.

Fire Tower Road resident Mark J. Cool argued that the turbine had been abandoned, citing Falmouth’s wind energy system bylaw, which states “Absent notice of a proposed date of decommissioning, the WES (Wind Energy System) shall be considered abandoned when the facility fails to operate for more than 12 consecutive months.”

“Wind 1 has been dormant since 2015. The existing and current bylaw states 12 consecutive months of non-use calls for removal. It meets the town’s definition of abandonment,” Mr. Cool said.

The approximately 400-foot-tall Wind 1, located at the wastewater treatment plant on Blacksmith Shop Road, has not been operating since September 2015, after the Massachusetts Court of Appeals ruled the turbine needed a special permit from the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals in order to continue operation.

“The clear intent of the wind energy system bylaw is that not having a special permit should not exempt Wind 1 from conditions of the current and governing WES bylaw,” Mr. Cool wrote in his complaint.

In a December 19 response to Mr. Cool, Mr. Palmer agreed that Wind 1 is a non-complying structure.

“I presently intend to direct the Town of Falmouth to prepare and submit to me a plan for its dismantling and removal from its present location and request that the plan be submitted by May 31, 2018,” Mr. Palmer wrote.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Susan L. Moran said the board will discuss the matter at its January 2 meeting.

“The selectmen appreciate the building inspector responding to the litigants asking for enforcement. We will get it right, finding the solution that is most economically feasible and efficient for the town,” Ms. Moran said.

This decision does not impact Wind 2. Wind 2 was shut down in June, after Barnstable County Superior Court judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II upheld a zoning board of appeals decision deeming the turbines a nuisance.

“Twelve consecutive months on Wind 2 won’t be until June 2018. There is a lot of things that can happen between now and June of 2018,” Mr. Cool said. “It could fall under the bylaw if it is not used within 12 months. That criteria forces removal. Come June 2018, if the turbine hasn’t turned, I guess myself or someone else who is a resident of Falmouth will put in a request regarding Wind 2.”

Mr. Cool put in his request using the town’s confidential complaint form. The form is available on Falmouth’s website, and can be used by residents to report alleged violations of the town’s zoning bylaws.

(2) comments

blowin smoke

Because the "remove after 12 months" law was passed years AFTER the turbines were built, it does not apply to the two turbines at the 300 acre wastewater facility.

Mr. Cool is eager to destroy valuable infrastructure at the taxpayers expense.


The Residents of Falmouth Need To Read the 110 decibel wind turbine warning letter . This warning letter shows the turbines should never have been built :

August 3, 2010
Mr. Gerald Potamis
WasteWater Superintendent
Town of Falmouth Public Works
59 Town Hall Square
Falmouth, MA 02540
RE: Falmouth WWTF Wind Energy Facility II "Wind II", Falmouth, MA
Contract No. #3297
Dear Mr. Potamis,
Due to the sound concerns regarding the first wind turbine installed at the wastewater treatment facility, the manufacturer of the turbines, Vestas, is keen for the Town of Falmouth to understand the possible noise and other risks associated with the installation of the second wind turbine.
The Town has previously been provided with the Octave Band Data / Sound performance for the V82 turbine. This shows that the turbine normally operates at 103.2dB but the manufacturer has also stated that it may produce up to 110dB under certain circumstances. These measurements are based on IEC standards for sound measurement which is calculated at a height of 10m above of the base of the turbine.
We understand that a sound study is being performed to determine what, if any, Impacts the second turbine will have to the nearest residences. Please be advised that should noise concerns arise with this turbine, the only option to mitigate normal operating sound from the V82 is to shut down the machine at certain wind speeds and directions. Naturally this would detrimentally affect power production.
The manufacturer also needs confirmation that the Town of Falmouth understands they are fully responsible for the site selection of the turbine and bear all responsibilities to address any mitigation needs of the neighbors.
Finally, the manufacturer has raised the possibility of ice throw concerns. Since Route 28 is relatively close to the turbine, precautions should be taken in weather that may cause icing.
To date on this project we have been unable to move forward with signing the contract with Vestas. The inability to release the turbine for shipment to the project site has caused significant [SIC] delays in our project schedule. In order to move forward the manufacturer requires your understanding and acknowledgement of these risks. We kindly request for this acknowledgement to be sent to us by August 4, 2010, as we have scheduled a coordination meeting with Vestas to discuss the project schedule and steps forward for completion of the project.
Please sign in the space provided below to indicate your understanding and acknowledgement of this letter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me.
(Bruce Mabbott's signature)
Bruce Mabbott Gerald Potamis
Project Manager Town of Falmouth
CC: Sumul Shah, Lumus Construction, Inc.
(Town of Falmouth's Wind-1 and Wind-2 Construction contractor)
Stephen Wiehe, Weston & Sampson
(Town of Falmouth's contract engineers)
Brian Hopkins, Vestas
(Wind-1, Wind-2's turbine manufacturer, and also Webb/NOTUS turbine)

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