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Two Falmouth wind turbines sparked a lawsuit; now they're being demolished

Jess Bidgood

Two land-based wind turbines that drew heavy criticism from their Falmouth neighbors are scheduled to be demolished this week and next.

The town-owned turbines, Wind 1 and Wind 2, were installed about a decade ago at the Falmouth wastewater treatment facility.

Abutting neighbor Barry Funfar, a Vietnam combat veteran who has post-traumatic stress disorder, said the noise and pulsing-air sensation from the turbines prevented him from being in his garden.

“Once these turbines were in, it's like — it was just something they did to me,” he said. “It was like a feeling in my chest, that I couldn't stand to be out there anymore.”

Others complained of insomnia, headaches, and other health problems from the noise and motion.

For Funfar, his garden had been a place of solace.

“I was, like, a helicopter door gunner in Vietnam for 19 months. And to get away from everything, I had a backyard garden sanctuary where I spent considerable time … and it was peaceful,” he said.

Before the turbines were installed, he and other residents visited a wind turbine in Hull, and it didn’t seem to be a problem, he said. But the Falmouth turbines were larger.

Funfar and his wife sought help from town officials. The Zoning Board of Appeals agreed with them that the turbines were a nuisance.

The town sued the Funfars and the ZBA. The town lost, and a judge ordered the turbines shut down five years ago.

Falmouth Select Board member Doug Brown said last week that he wishes Town Meeting had received more information about potential noise levels before approving the turbines.

“I feel sad about the whole thing, you know?” he said. “It's too bad, because when they first went up, I was so proud of my town. I was like, ‘Wow, this is great. You know, we're cutting edge,’ but … It's a shame how it went, you know? It's too bad.”

Demolition of Wind 1 is scheduled for the week of Sept. 26, and Wind 2 the week of Oct. 3.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.