The Associated Press

Falmouth Votes To Keep Turbines

FALMOUTH, Mass. — Voters in Falmouth on Cape Cod decided Tuesday to keep the town’s two wind turbines, despite complaints about noise and health problems.

Voters were asked to decide on a plan to remove the two, 400-foot-tall turbines. They voted against the plan by a 2-1 margin, according to the Cape Cod Times. The vote was 6,001 against removal and 2,940 in favor of the plan, the newspaper said.

Both turbines are located at the town’s wastewater treatment facility. The first turbine began running in 2010.

Since the turbines’ installation, about 40 households in the neighborhood have complained about headaches, vertigo, sleep interruption and other problems.

After the initial complaints, the town tried curtailing the operation during extremely strong winds and also tried shutting them off at night. But some residents persisted in a campaign to take them down.

Proponents said support for the turbines and the renewable energy and revenues they produce is silent but strong.

Wind Wise-Massachusetts, which opposed the turbines, said the group was disappointed, but said the vote drew attention to “the negative impact of wind turbines on the lives of families living near them.”

Falmouth was among the first towns in Massachusetts to install large turbines so close to homes.

Residents of Fairhaven and Kingston have also complained about noise from turbines.

Falmouth is believed to be the first community in the country to vote on whether to remove existing turbines because of noise complaints. Renewable energy advocates had said a successful vote to remove the turbines would set a terrible precedent.

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  • X-Ray

    There must be a way by science-based measurement, to affirm or rebut the claims of sleep or other disturbance to people.

    • Ian

      A psych study by an Australian research group has shown that people with an expectation of symptoms from so-called “infrasound” are more likely to display those symptoms than other people exposed to the same wind turbine noise. The minor health problems are real but are essentially psychosomatic. My take-away is that the affected people would feel fine if they’d calm down. Their property value is a different issue …

      http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2013-07740-001

      Unfortunately, the study itself is behind a paywall, but there is some press coverage if you Google it.

      • X-Ray

        That still begs the question, “Do wind turbines actually produce “infrasound” or any other emissions at clinically significant levels.”

        • Ian

          No, it does not beg the question. I suspect you did not read the link posted at the top of this comment thread, or this abstract, and are merely trolling for the benefit of anti-science enthusiasts.

          • jc

            Anyone who votes to keep these turbines should be required to live near one for a year.

  • Jasoturner

    So much for the market value of those houses. You gotta feel bad for the owners. It strikes me that Falmouth should pay the differential when/if the folks near the turbines decide to sell.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004893009122 David Ward

      The latest and most robust studies on property value impacts related to wind energy development show wind farms do not have long-term negative effects on neighboring property values. Further, the majority of studies have found no conclusive evidence of any negative impact. Rather, they do drive community economic development, which benefit all property owners in the host community.

      Read more: http://www.quora.com/Wind-Energy/Do-wind-turbines-reduce-the-value-of-nearby-properties/answer/Mike-Barnard#

      David Ward, American Wind Energy Association

      • Jasoturner

        That strikes me as more of a talking point than a demonstrable fact. These houses are close to the windmills, which may be highly relevant and beyond the scope of the study cited. Also, one homeowner and former advocate now says he is suffering ill effects from the windmills – he has no reason to lie about it.

        It would be interesting to ask realtors in Falmouth if they honestly think the value of these houses will remain unaffected. I know that I personally would not buy one, which is at least a single data point suggesting that their value is diminished. I wounder how many others viewing this comments page would not look for a discount when buying a house where the previous owner claimed annoyance and illness.

        And by the way, I have a sophisticated Viesmman boiler with OA temperature reset, I have talked with two firms about adding solar to my house, I spent a few grand upgrading my insulation, putting CFLs and LED lamps in all my fixtures, and I have a multizone heating system with programmable thermostats in each zone. So I’m far from an energy efficiency and/or emissions Luddite. But I am willing to call a strike a strike.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649330277 Mark J Cool

          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. Falmouth Real Estate — ‘The Turbine Effect’”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649330277 Mark J Cool

        Land-based wind turbines can cause property values within two miles of the 30 to 50 story high structures to plummet by 15 percent to 40 percent, according to comprehensive appraisal studies.

        The individual real estate impact reports covered the towns of Falmouth, Nantucket, Shelburne, Dennis, and Brewster and are emblematic of similar studies in other states, according to Michael McCann, president of McCann Appraisals of Chicago. Read more -https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/03/07/studies-show-landth-economic-and-environmental-factors-are-cited-as-major-issues-based-wind-turbines-cause-property-values-to-plummet/

      • Marie

        I live in one of the world´s smallest
        countries, Denmark, and still we have at the moment 187 communities making the
        same complaints as the people in Falmouth – I guess they need to read the
        studies. Some closed down their houses – losing their savings, I guess
        they can´t read

  • white haired granny

    An interstate highway was built in through my neighborhood over 30 years ago and we have put up with the constant noise and dirt ever since. While these folks have my sympathy they are among thousands who have had their lives disrupted by public works projects. A few neighbors whose property was not taken for the road but were left right on top of it petitioned and had their propert taken so they could relocate farther from the road.

    • Jasoturner

      And do you think that has affected the resale value of your house?

      • white haired granny

        In the short term yes. During the construction and a few years after the road opened because the area had a reputation as a quiet country area. In the long term no. The good schools and other amenities the town has to offer seem to be more of a plus than the road noise is a minus. Have no data to prove this but it seemed to me a lot of buyers came from urban areas and this represented “country” to them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649330277 Mark J Cool

      it boils down to “greater public good”. Interstate roads serve a tremendous value to the many, at the sacrifice of few. In Falmouth, the turbines have no remote “greater good” quality. They operate at a municipal deficit (-$140K annually) and have miniscule ‘climate change’ reduction value. A public works project having no public benefit = a mistake that requires a fix!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649330277 Mark J Cool

    It’s Ironic that it should boil down to an amount of money giving license to withhold basic rights from a minority, while the majority in Falmouth enjoys these rights. This is the real issue…this is the “real damage” needing a fix… in the Nation founded on liberty and justice for ALL.

    “A lack of Community Outreach” has been blamed for the reason Falmouth did not adopt question 2. When did the world suddenly change, giving greater attention to the dollar, rather than neighborly decency? Though I will never be shamed of my community, I am disappointed in the present direction of their morale compass.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    I’m glad that the turbines are staying. There is no such thing as “wind turbine syndrome” and all the “symptoms” are brought on by anxiety. In other words, they are psychosomatic.

    http://climatecrocks.com/2013/05/22/the-truth-about-the-anti-wind-movement-a-tiny-paranoid-disinformed-koch-funded-fringe/comment-page-1/

    Now, living next to a smoke stack – that would be bad.

    Neil

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649330277 Mark J Cool

      CONFUSION ABOUNDS regarding the Falmouth Question 2 Vote. The vote was ONLY about funding the decommissioning and removal of the turbines. A small faction of residents misbelieve the votes represent the citizenry’s desire to keep the turbines. Wrong!

      The general consensus in the community acknowledge that the V82 turbines are ‘too big and too close’ to residential neighborhoods (Senate President Murray even confirms this). In other-words, Falmouth’s ‘no’ vote does nothing to eliminate the original, community recognized, problem. The resulting vote outcome, based upon budget fears, does in no way, shape or form, constitute a dismissal of the continuing concern and attention owed the problem. To believe otherwise is simply delusional and naive.

  • Richard Mann

    Before discounting turbine noise, listen for yourself:

    https://soundcloud.com/soundmann-com/bird-song-vs-industrial-wind

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