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Scituate residents take wind turbine to court

Neighbors claim Scituate’s wind turbine is harming their health, and they are taking their complaints to court.Jessica Bartlett for The Boston Globe/File 2012

After months of going through town officials to seek relief from Scituate’s wind turbine, two Scituate residents are taking their case to court.

In a filing at Plymouth Superior Court on Dec. 14, Mark and Lauren McKeever asked that the court remand the issue of the turbine operation back to Scituate’s Board of Health.

The McKeevers argued in the filing that the board erred in letting the 400-foot-tall industrial turbine remain turned on, even though, they say, it is harming the health of residents.

The energy generator, located 640 feet from the McKeevers’ house, has been up since January 2012 and operating since March, and supplies half of the power for Scituate’s municipal facilities.


Despite the general popularity of the project, the McKeevers have opposed a machine so close to their home.

“Since the Wind Turbine became operational in March 2012, the McKeevers and their two small children have been continually suffering from symptoms including, but not limited to, sleep disturbances, headaches, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue, anxiety, tinnitus, and difficulty concentrating,” the McKeevers’ attorney wrote in the complaint.

Several residents on the eastern side of the turbine also complained of problems, and in September those residents and the McKeevers started meeting with the Board of Health to address their issues.

Despite meeting almost monthly since then, and despite a Board of Health proposal to turn the turbine off, board members voted to keep the turbine operational.

Instead, a steering committee was formed to develop studies looking at the noise and shadow flicker created by the machine. That committee met for the first time in December, though no studies have yet been initiated.

The progress has not been enough for the McKeever family, which is asking that the court dismiss the Board of Health’s initial vote to keep the turbine on and remand the issue to the board for further consideration. The McKeevers have also asked that the town pay for damages and attorney fees in an amount to be determined.


Tayna Trevisan, the McKeevers’ attorney, would not comment on the case except to say that the timing depends on the court’s scheduling.

“It’s in [the court’s] hands at this point,’’ she said. “The record needs to be assembled and we’ll go into the review of it.”

Jim Toomey, counsel for the town, said his firm formally accepted the case on Dec. 28, and the town has 20 days to file a response.

“We will be filing something in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

In the meantime, the steering committee will continue to meet, developing the scope of a turbine study and eventually hiring a company to conduct it.

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com.