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Judge denies request to turn off Scituate turbine

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  January 15, 2013 04:26 PM

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A day after hearing testimony, a Brockton Superior Court judge on Tuesday denied a Scituate family's request to shut down the industrial turbine on the Driftway.

The McKeever family had sought an injunction to shut down the turbine until further notice. But in a two-page memo released Tuesday afternoon, Justice Charles Hely denied the request to intervene.

“At this stage of the case, the plaintiff’s have not shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the wind turbine is a public health nuisance that must be immediately shut down,” Hely said in the memo.

Tanya Trevisan, attorney for the McKeevers, said, “Obviously the family is disappointed as they were hoping to get some relief from the daily disruptions that this wind turbine causes and the problems it brings with it.

She added, “For the sake of their children, the McKeevers are staying positive and will work diligently, as any parent would, to ensure the Board of Health proceedings move forward in the manner anticipated by the court.”

Attorneys for both the town and the town’s Board of Health could not immediately be reached for comment.

The McKeever family has been pressing to halt the turbine since meeting with Board of Health officials in October, saying that noise and shadow flicker coming from the machine has caused numerous health problems.

Among other things, family members have said they are having trouble sleeping, and that the children have begun suffering headaches associated with the light and sound issues.

Several residents from Scituate’s Third Cliff area have also complained about the noise, and say that it is causing everything from vertigo to dizziness.

While the turbine has several up in arms about the project’s location, the McKeevers, who live approximately 650 feet away from the turbine, have been the only ones to take the matter to court.

The McKeevers filed a complaint against the town in early January asking that the matter be remanded back to the Board of Health. On Friday, they sought immediate relief through a restraining order, but the judge waited to hear the matter until Monday, when both parties met to air their side of the story.

Although the family said it has been suffering since the turbine was turned on in May, counsel for the Board of Health pointed out that the town is in the process of studying the turbine’s effects.

Furthermore, counsel pointed out that the McKeevers had signed a settlement with Scituate Wind, the turbine's owner. In that agreement, the family received $20,000 in exchange for promising not to oppose the machine. That settlement explains why the town’s names are on court documents, and not Scituate Wind.

In his memo Tuesday, Hely noted that the McKeevers are going through a process with the Board of Health, and that they can appeal that decision if it is not in their favor.

Hely also said it would be in the public interest to not interfere with town proceedings.

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