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Noise Complaints Raised at Bourne Board of Health

August 9, 2018

Chris Kapsambelis and Karen Gibides addressed the Board of Health in Bourne at their Wednesday, August 8, 2018 meeting. She asked the BOH for guidance on how to address resident concerns,Bourne-BOH-BourneTV

We feel that regardless of where the noise is coming from we are suffering a nuisance…. And we don’t know where to turn, so we’re turning to you again now that we’ve reached this point where [the turbines] are in operation and we are suffering a nuisance from them. As the court said, we then could approach the board of health, who has great power in the area of public health. It seems that under any other circumstance this would be a public health issue that requires address by our town administrators. I guess we want to know what do we do next. How do we work with you to get some relief?

Kapsambelis explained the impact noise is having on Bourne residents whose homes are closer to the Future Generation Wind turbines than most Plymouth residents. He submitted a 25-page compilation of the complaints residents have been filing on a web form.
Among the comments submitted online, Larry McGrath wrote, “Turbines very loud- first like a train and then like a jet plane” and Karen Gibides reported:

This morning at 6:02 am, I was awakened by the throbbing and whirring of the turbine closest to me as it geared up for the day. Again, not the way I want to start my day, my day off from work, when perhaps I could sleep in. And the noise continues to distract and annoy me as I work from home. We are enjoying a moderate southwest wind, and the turbine noise is horrible for us. Of course, this is not a wind direction that was ever sound tested in our neighborhood.

Kapsambelis reminded the BOH of the town’s bylaws and their responsibility to address complaints when citizens’ health is impacted. The inability to sleep was a top complaint, followed by headaches, vertigo, nausea and distraction due to strobing light. He pointed out the limitations of the Tech Environmental’s May 2018 report. His submission concluded:

We request that the BOH raises these points with MassDEP and demands a reevaluation. In the meantime, the wind turbines should be turned off, and only allowed to run for any additional testing.

In “Buzzards Bay residents raise issue with turbines,” Paul Gately reported on the meeting (Bourne Wicked Local 8/10/18):

Board Chairman Kathy Peterson on August 8, however, did say she and Health Agent Terri Guarino would contact the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to determine when its Mann turbine testing would conclude, and also try to secure technical assistance to review results.

Peterson says this would involve a request to learn why state testing of the towering commercial-grade turbines was conducted away from the neighboring Head of the Bay homes in Bourne.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2018 7:45 pm

    The Bourne – NGW conflict is not whether a nuisance is in fact present, but it has now become an issue over the policy question of whether authorized zoning use in one municipality can be actionable by the Court.

    Barnstable Superior Court Judge Nickerson (2016) said the Bourne Health Board could indeed deal with public-health issues related to turbines but only if they evolve. It appears that Plymouth’s authorized use may constitute what is in fact a Bourne public nuisance. Recall that a public nuisance is one which infringes upon those rights shared as a whole by the citizens of the community, regardless of the number directly injured.

    In this particular case, the Bourne citizens adopted a wind energy conversion systems regulation that declare excessive wind turbine noise and [shadow] flicker a nuisance. Without a variance from Bourne’s regulation, NGW’s turbines (governed by the Plymouth ZBA’s special permit) are non-compliant with state statue relative nuisance. In other words, the NGW turbines are quite possibly injurious to the public health of Bourne citizens (recall that public nuisance is regardless of the number directly injured), NGW, and quite likely the town of Plymouth and its ZBA are guilty of statutory nuisance.

    Judge Nickerson’s ruling that Bourne officials had no legal standing because the wind project was beyond Bourne’s geographical limits no longer carries any weight. A state statue erases all municipal jurisdictions and town-lines. Bourne, now that proof continues to be gathered, has definite ‘standing’ since the town is directly subject to an adverse effect (regulatory violation) by the operation of NGW, and the harm suffered will continue unless the court grants relief.

  2. Joanne Levesque permalink
    August 9, 2018 3:27 pm

    tape of the meeting by Bourne Community TV is linked here:

    Not sure how to memorialize … joanne

    On Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 1:14 PM, Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts wrote:

    > windwisema posted: “Chris Kapsambelis and Karen Gibides addressed the > Board of Health in Bourne at their Wednesday, August 8, 2018 meeting. > Kapsambelis explained the concerns of Bourne residents whose homes are > close to the Plymouth turbines of the Future Generation Wind pr” >

  3. Marshall Rosenthal permalink
    August 9, 2018 2:01 pm

    It would be useful if the Bourne BOH would comment on Kris’s instructions.

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