UPDATE! The NOISE goes on! May 3, 2008
HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Juniata Township couple seeking relief from noisy wind turbines has taken their complaint to Blair County Court.
Todd and Jill Stull, in a lawsuit filed at the courthouse, accuse Gamesa Energy USA LLC and the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm LLC of destroying their quality of life and damaging their health. They’re seeking an injunction ordering the noise to be reduced.
Ever since the wind turbines were built on acreage spanning Blair and Cambria counties, the Stulls say they have endured excessive noise and vibrations, causing loss of sleep, emotional distress, inconvenience and loss of property value.
“Defendants’ wind turbines have destroyed the peaceful environment formerly enjoyed by plaintiffs and their neighbors,” the lawsuit states.
Representatives for Gamesa Energy and Babcock & Brown, which owns the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, said Thursday that they had not yet received the lawsuit and declined comment.
In April, Juniata Township supervisors commissioned a study to determine if the turbines exceed the noise level allowed by township ordinance. Solicitor Michael Routch said the information is needed if the township is to force action to reduce noise at the request of residents.
Pittsburgh attorney Bradley S. Tupi said the Stulls’ lawsuit is based on nuisance laws applicable when a property owner uses his property in a way that interferes with how others use theirs. These laws historically surface in noise disputes between airports and neighbors, with rulings often reflecting who was there first, Tupi said.
The Stulls have lived on their 100-acre property since 1992.
The 30-turbine wind farm, which spans five townships and borders the Stulls’ property, went into operation in 2007.
The lawsuit also accuses Gamesa and the wind farm of securing permits and approvals to build on the basis that the turbines would cause no noise. Based on that premise, Tupi said the Stulls raised no objections or appeals to the proposed project, but now find themselves exposed to noise, vibrations and flicker during a setting sun.
“There is no question that the noise from these turbines are having a terrible effect on the Stulls,” Tupi said.