Stephen Wiehe of Weston & Sampson has proposed moving one of the town’s turbines, Wind 2, to another location on the wastewater treatment plant site.

“Both Wind 1 and Wind 2 could be relocated out of town, but only Wind 2 could be relocated within town,” Mr. Wiehe said at the board of selectmen’s meeting on Monday, October 15.

The proposed relocation of Wind 2 is set back further on the wastewater treatment facility site, approximately 2,400 feet from its current location. The structure’s elevation would be reduced from 130 feet to 115 feet above sea level.

He calculated the relocation as financially feasible. While it would cost approximately $3.025 million to dismantle, move and re-erect Wind 2, he estimated that it could generate 70.33 million kilowatt hours of energy, generating a net value of $5.7 million for the town.

The new location would put it 2,147 feet from the nearest residence to the north and 2,244 feet to the nearest residence to the south.

In its current location, Wind 2 is 1,102 feet from its nearest residential abutter.

“The rule of thumb used to be 1,000 feet,” Mr. Wiehe said.

Because of the increased distance from neighbors and reduced elevation, the turbine’s impact would be reduced.

“Shadow flicker in any of the residential areas would not be experienced if you moved it 2,400 feet to the east,” he said.

However, commercial abutters in Falmouth Technology Park could experience the shadow flicker caused by the spinning turbine blades.

Neighbors living approximately 2,000 feet away would hear hear the turbine but the noise level above background noise levels would be small.

“Increases above background in the one to three range are barely audible,” Mr. Wiehe said. “One to three decibels is considered pretty low by most people’s standards.”

However, he added that Falmouth is a quiet town, with a background sound level of approximately 28 decibels. A two decibel increase here will be more noticeable than a two decibel increase in a louder, more urban area.

Mr. Wiehe also addressed Wind 1. Unlike Wind 2, Wind 1 cannot be relocated within the town. He listed a number of potential options for the turbine, including dismantling it and using it for parts, scrapping it for salvage, selling it, moving it for use out-of-town or using it as a cellular communication tower.

He noted that scrapping it or selling it would likely be a wash, with the town only earning back the cost to dismantle and remove the turbine.

“It wouldn’t be a large windfall,” he said.

While using it as a cellular communication tower is an option, the town would need to find a company willing to rent space on the tower for that to be feasible.

“That cellular network is largely built out,” he said. “You see that in TV commercials all the time.”

Selectmen allowed 10 minutes of public comment at the meeting. Several residents spoke, both those in favor of and opposed to the turbine relocation.

Fire Tower Road resident Mark J. Cool praised Mr. Wiehe’s presentation but argued there was an uncertainty regarding any location. He said it needs to be clarified if Wind 2 is considered a non-complying structure or non-conforming structure. He argued the town should determine this before expending time, effort and money on relocation.

Woods Hole resident Ronald D. Zweig noted that the Barnstable Superior Court will hear the Green Center of Hatchville’s appeal of Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II’s decision to uphold a Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals decision that deemed the turbines a nuisance.

“We need to keep in a mind a decision will be coming, and we don’t know when, from the appeals court, that may change the situation we are in,” Mr. Zweig said.

Mr. Zweig is one of a dozen people listed on the Green Center’s motion to intervene and appeal the decision regarding the turbine.

Falmouth resident David Moriarty described the idea of relocating the wind turbine as “a loser.”

“There is no way this town can afford to move Wind 2 and keep a straight face and face the citizens of Falmouth,” Mr. Moriarty said. “It is just not economically feasible.”

Abutter Kathryn L. Elder said the idea of relocating the wind turbine on the same site blew her mind.

”I’m overwhelmed with the idea of moving Wind 2 to a location that is still so close to all the impacted neighbors after everything we’ve been through over eight years of litigation,” Ms. Elder said, noting Mr. Wiehe’s presentation only showed one alternate location.

She suggested if the wind turbine was appropriate here, it would be appropriate in other areas of town.

”If any citizens, like the Green Center, would like to get a petition going to put it in their neighborhoods, I think that would be an excellent solution,” Ms. Elder said.

Selectmen chairman Susan L. Moran said there would be additional opportunities for public comment at future meetings. Interested parties are also invited to provide written comment on the wind turbines to the board of selectmen.

Selectmen took no vote on the matter on Monday night.

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(8) comments

Gadfly

There is a privately owned, properly permitted turbine similar to Wind 2 already up there. It runs daily, and is close to the homes affected. We rarely hear about that one causing issues, probably because nothing can be done about it. They did it right, "we" didn't. We are vulnerable. Unfortunately, the majority of residents/taxpayers are going to pay the price.

neo

Town of Falmouth officials bent over backwards - even changing zoning regulations to push through the zoning of the privately owned turbine. Once again, there was no independent, unbiased town sponsored sound testing done (pre-permitting) to protect the neighbors and, as a result, many neighbors of the Notus turbine have had their lives and health negatively affected by the pounding noise of this enormous machine so close to their homes and they candidly spoke up about it at a turbine health board meeting. Unfortunately for those neighbors, their turbine special permitting was orchestrated by the town whereas the same town officials were so cocky about their own turbines that they did not even bother with special permitting at all. Falmouth officials and their lawyers made the lives of Wind 1 and 2 neighbors so miserable for 8 years without legal building permits think of the Notus turbine sufferers trying to fight one with a permit. Shame on Falmouth for turning their back on these citizens.

blowin smoke

Has everyone forgotten that Falmouth voted against removal of the wind turbines? In 2013, all nine precincts voted against spending $12-$15 million. Overall margin 2-1 against.
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Selectmen made an expensive mistake in summer 2017, when they decided to not appeal a court order shutting down the turbines. That ruling that came two months after a jury at the same courthouse ruled the turbines were not a nuisance! Fortunately, the Green Center is appealing on behalf of the town.
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In other Massachusetts towns, such as Hull and Gardner, turbines identical to Falmouth’s , or larger, spin 24x7 without controversy.
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A 2007 state law specifically authorized Falmouth to install and operate wind turbines at that location. As a result, permits from ZBA were never needed.
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Selectmen should respect the outcome of the 2013 vote and join the Green Center’s appeal.

Lin Whitehead

The EPA waiver to buy a foreign made Vestas wind turbine required the Town of Falmouth to file Special Permit 240 -166. No special permit was ever applied for. Right from the beginning, there was deception and non-transparency as discovered when a letter from Vestas to the Town of Falmouth stated the risks of high decibels and ice throw. The company required the town to sign the letter stating that Vestas would not be liable. This letter was hidden for 5 years, and only because of the Freedom of Information Act, did this letter become known. If the turbine were to be moved, it STILL would not have a special permit.

m cool

My praise of Mr. Wiehe's presentation was meant in sarcasm. The presentation & the report is likened to a version of the "Pied Piper" fable. Showing once again, the extent wind project consultants will go to enchant unsuspecting community's. Should it be so soon that we forget those styles of misrepresentation that got us here in the first place?

nicklowell

No thank you! I can't believe we are even talking about this. Time to take the turbines down for good.

FrankHaggerty

Wind Turbine Engineers Ignore Cape Cod Commission Setbacks
Engineers Hired By The Town Of Falmouth Propose A 2100 Foot Setback To Up To 200 Residents Already In Wind Turbine Litigation

Falmouth Wind II -Vestas V-82 type 1.65 megawatt 110-decibel wind turbine?

1. How much for a new foundation + electric and labor?

2. Crane costs -special crane $150,000.00 minimum 3 days plus $50,000.00 each additional day -take down reinstall?

3. Blade inspection drone by drone or robot -what condition are the blades in today?

4. Gearbox inspection using borescope camera what condition are bearings. Do gearbox bearings fail every 5 to ten years?

5. FAA approval to move turbine to new location ?

6 Falmouth Wind II has a Project Regulatory Agreement brokered by the MassDEP. The loan is payable to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust which oversees the Massachusetts State Revolving Fund (SRF)
What happens to the loan grant of around 5 million dollars if the turbine is moved?

7. Vestas of America notified the Town of Falmouth in 2010 the turbines generate 110 decibels of noise. What are the setbacks to residential homes for a 110-decibel wind turbine?

Surely this is a joke? Get rid of those turbines for good!! They are harmful to all.

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