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Falmouth Votes on Turbine Question Tuesday

May 19, 2013

VoteYesOn2FalmouthInterest in the outcome of Falmouth’s vote on May 21, 2013 continues with reports on National Public Radio, in the Cape Cod Times, the Falmouth Enterprise, and in the online magazine, Cape Cod Wave.

Sean Corcoran’s piece,  Cape Cod Community To Vote On Status Of Wind Turbines for WCAI–a National Public Radio affiliate–sets the scene:

Falmouth was among the first towns in Massachusetts to install large turbines so close to homes. When people complained, the town tried curtailing their operation when it got real windy. Then they shut them off at night. They even considered buying out the homeowners.

But now Board of Selectman chairman Kevin Murphy says the turbines simply need to come down.

In “Falmouth turbine removal up for vote”  in the Cape Cod Times of 5/19/13, Sean Teehan captures one of the views frequently expressed: townspeople were for wind energy until they saw the effect the giant turbines had on residents.

Linda Davis supported building and paying for two town-owned wind turbines when the project came before voters at town meetings between 2007 and 2009.

But as the complaints from neighbors living near the turbines grew since the first one started spinning in 2010, Davis had second thoughts and began poring over her notes and reviewing videos of those meetings.

“Clearly, very few people asked questions, and everyone was on board,” Davis said. “It became clear this year to me and to other people who were sort of on the sidelines watching “» we really had a problem here, and it was tearing our community apart.”

Laura M. Reckford’s article in the Cape Cod Wave, (“Falmouth Real Estate — ‘The Turbine Effect’” 5/15/13), explores the uncertainty the real estate market is feeling as properties stay on the market longer and are sold a reduced prices.

Realtor Nadine Krasnow of Falmouth Fine Properties said she has no doubt that the turbines have affected property values in the West Falmouth neighborhood with views of the 400-foot high towers.

“In my opinion, it’s had a noticeably chilling affect and it has definitely become more difficult to sell houses there; and the reason is, if people have other choices, which they do, why are they going to buy in a place where value has gone down and it’s unclear what will happen in the future?”

Krasnow said that slow home sales in the neighborhoods near the turbines seem to be an exception from the rest of town, which has rebounded well from the recession in recent months.

When Brian Tarcy interviewed three former selectmen (Cape Cod Wave: Three Former Selectmen Offer Prespectives on Turbines 5/15/13), Eric Turkington (also former State Representative) observed:

“As more and more people testified that they had experienced health problems, others heard their voices and went up to investigate, and it became clear that this was not a bunch of hypochondriacs. Defenders of the wind industry say the connection between the turbines and the health problems haven’t been proven in scientific studies. Well, it will be.”

More information on the costs and issues can be found at the Heal our Town website. For a chronology of Falmouth’s  town-owned turbines, Mark Cool’s Firetower Wind blog offers editorials from an impacted wind neighbor. The recent events are highlighted in “A warning to communities…” (3/20/2013). The earlier sequence is detailed at Falmouth’s Energy Debacle Timeline | Firetower Wind.

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