Fears Trump Cheers As CCC Continues Turbines Review

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By: Diana T. Barth
Published: 10/01/10

Not seven wind turbines, not 492 feet high, and not if the sounds that the turbines make will have any adverse effect on our children’s health. That was the message some Bournedale residents passionately delivered to a Cape Cod Commission subcommittee tasked with reviewing New Generation Wind’s plan to build a series of turbines in the neighborhood.

The turbine project is designed to be the first tenant of, and provide electricity for, the green technology park proposed for a portion of more than 400 acres of Bournedale land.

That subcommittee, which continued its review of the project this week from where it left off on September 14, listened to another three hours of testimony from staff, the community, and the applicant.

Subcommittee members looked at new photo simulations, including expanded “viewsheds” that showed all of the towers that could be seen from various locations.

The applicant also showed the four specific simulations the subcommittee and commission had requested, ones depicting what the public would see from the bridges and scenic outlooks on both sides of the Cape Cod Canal, were the project to be built as planned.

Those simulations had been requested because the standard under which the commission is reviewing the project allows members to take into account any adverse visual impact the project might have.

Royden Richardson of Barnstable, a subcommittee member and chairman of the full commission, which will hear and vote on the subcommittee’s recommendations, looked at one picture of a man standing next to a turbine similar in size to the ones planned for the Bournedale property, and then questioned whether the simulations were accurate.

The applicant’s expert, in response, assured him that they were, saying that they used similarly sized turbines in their simulations, but that distance and perspective made them appear smaller.

Commission staff told the subcommittee that they had no applicable noise standard, but provided information on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s noise policy. Staff also recommended that the applicant provide data taken during nighttime hours, information that would let the commission know how much higher than ambient, or background, noise the turbines would be during the quieter hours of the day.

Several of the neighbors were there, including J. Hendrick Leuke, a Mirasol Drive resident who prepared a PowerPoint presentation to ask the subcommittee to look into low frequency sounds produced by turbines. He and his wife asked that the commission delay its decision-making to allow for information coming from the First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry. That symposium, sponsored by The Society for Wind Vigilance, will be held in Canada at the end of October.

Several people rose to ask the subcommittee to carefully consider the issue, using independent consultants if necessary, particularly since so many parents had fears that the sound might be audible from Bournedale Elementary School.

One speaker, however, a wind turbine supporter, rose to say that turbine technology was not experimental. She said that those who were afraid of its adverse impact might be able to find statistics and information on the Internet to reinforce those fears, but that she had no such concerns.

Town Planner Coreen V. Moore answered the commission’s questions to her by saying that the Bournedale project was consistent with town zoning and with the Local Comprehensive Plan.

Selectman Stephen F. Mealy, who was present at the hearing, as were several other selectmen, said that his board had taken no vote on the project, but has some comments as an individual. He urged the subcommittee to take long-term issues into consideration, including the setting of conditions that would address what might occur some 20 or 25 years down the road, when making its recommendations.
Planning board Chairman Christopher J. Farrell, whose board will review the project if it passes Cape Cod Commission review, was present, but did not speak.

Board of health Chairman Galon L. (Skip) Barlow, who invited project neighbors to send his board their health concerns during last week’s board of health meeting, told the subcommittee he thought his board might need to weigh-in on those concerns, and asking the subcommittee to do the same.

Barry Wood, superintendent of the Buzzards Bay Water District, rose to report on the district commissioners’ decision not to release the portion of the Cape Cod Aggregates property, which includes that company’s gravel pit, from a designation as an area of potential public water supply. That company’s property is a part of the 400-acre Bournedale site at issue. Along with the potential water supply designation, the land has been designated as a district of critical planning concern.

The four subcommittee members heard all of the issues, many repeated from the previous meeting, and then left the record open to hear what the applicant promised would be “a fuller exploration” of all the questions both the neighbors and the commission staff had raised.

Commission staff member Page Czepiga said yesterday that the date of the next subcommittee hearing had not as yet been set, but that a notice of that meeting would be posted on the website and sent directly to those directly affected, including the abutting neighbors.

3 Responses to "Fears Trump Cheers As CCC Continues Turbines Review"

  1. After what happened with the single wind turbine in Falmouth, the CCC will have to be deaf and dumb to approve this 7 turbine project.

  2. I treasured Autumn on Cape Cod. I dreamily recall the autumn Cape experience. It’s a secret bliss shared amoungst the year-rounders and easily recounted by most of the readers. But, this be a warning to Brewster, Bournedale and the like. It’s a story, if heeded, that will allow continued anticipation and contentment with the Cape gift of autumn. This is a story about the "other side".   As you read and hopefully continue to study wind energy, you will see the poor economics of this type of green energy.  It will not stop nor replace nuclear, coal or oil.  It cannot stop increasing emissions.  And wind energy carries its own set of pollution which is detrimental to humans and animals.  Health effects caused by low-frequency noise and shadow flicker is a side affect, yet not the worst.  EMF (Electromagnetic Field (EMF) and dirty voltage are far worse! Diary accounts of my Autumn (compare these entries to your Fall experiences) - emailed the Falmouth Wind liason to report this sound disturbance. last time we reported a disturbance, Kate didn't respond for 4 days. The town project manager’s response then.. that the sound is nothing out of the ordinary and there is no mechanical problem - now they just ramped back up again and blades are pitched into the wind causing the chopping/low frequency/pulsating noise. this is our home, our life. we are heartbroken over this. - the turbines just slowed down and the noise level has decreased. this is a reoccurring theme with living next to turbines. they ramp up, then back down, then back up again....and the cycle continues. it is not something you can get used to. maybe someone out there, if I make enough noise, can do something about the turbine noise. this is something that we did not choose to live with and hope we don't have to endure for much longer. - Yesterday we were outside. Beautiful Autumn day. Pitched horse shoes, harvested the final fruits of the garden. Just a gorgeous day to be outside. The turbine going all day. They would ramp up and then back down. Some moments were tolerable and others not. At times our property was filled with a turbulent turbine noise. The sound bounces off the back off the house, seeming to elevate the noise and is a nuisance. The pulsating/chopping sound over and over again is something that we have not gotten used to. Nor the low frequency droning noise that fills our property. This is a drastic change from what we were used to. 12 months ago it was peaceful. The way life in the woods should be and that's why we chose to live here. Now, it's not pleasant to be outside many times. - the past two nights the turbines were creating a lot of noise. it was difficult sleeping and I don't feel as productive during the day. it is very stressful. - currently the turbines are creating a lot of swishing and low humming noises. the sound bounces off our home (which elevates the noise). I just came inside from walking the dogs down to the firetower. the pulsating/chopping noise is so irritating (emailed the Falmouth wind liason to report this nuisance). our windows are opened. as I'm typing this, i'm hearing the noise from the turbines. it's not a deafening sound, but a pulsating constant droning noise. - we don't have a 'normal' life setting now. one moment we'll have a peaceful woodland setting, the next moment we hear light swooshing, the next moment sounds like a jet plane sitting in our yard, the next moment it is silent, the next moment is a pulsating humming noise.... this is not something that you can get used to. - Turbines were on (lightly spinning) and off most the day. In the afternoon, the turbines started to pitch fully into the wind and the noise was up and down for a while. Last night was ok for sound. This morning, sound is bad again this am. - We have been gone the past few days on a family trip to decompress from a busy summer. being away from the turbines was nice and we slept well. we came home last night and the sound was bad. trying to sleep last night was difficult, especially coming from sleeping with peace and quiet for the last few nights. it was a beautiful 75 degree night. we opened our bedroom windows to let the breeze come in, but the turbine noise was a nuissance. the pulsating chopping sounds over and over again is something you can't get used to. so, we closed the windows on the north side of the house. it helped some, but then we were left with a low frequency droning noise that cut through into our home. so, we were hit with another major nuissance. today is the first day of school. School and children noises waiting for the bus when I walk the dogs.. now it sounds like we lived in an industrial complex and not in the peaceful country. how much is Falmouth having us put up with: major sound disturbances, flashing red lights, loss of sleep, constant motion....would they be willing to live with this? and, for 20+ years? we're on day 183 out of a potential 7300 days of torment.   If this wind energy was truly "GREEN," it wouldn't have a negative effects on people and/or animals.  If harmless, the wind developers/industry should prove this to us.  Show us the data from post studies done on existing wind turbine developments here in Massechusetts, Maine or better yet, the UK or Denmark.  Show us post studies on property values, health effects, wildlife, agriculture, ground voltage levels, livestock and the environment.  Where are these studies? I challenge you to study the wind industry!  Experience the truth! "Wind Energy is "Green Politics" and NOT a "Green Solution"!  We are trading one type of pollution for another.

  3. See how you feel about the wind power that you protested against someday in the future when oil is unavailable and you are freezing your rear off in winter. There have always been people to buck anything that is new.

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