September 23, 2013
FAIRHAVEN — Middle Street resident Garth Rowe did something last week he rarely does; he invited his neighbors, Beth and Michael Luey, outside onto his porch.
From there, the group had an unobstructed view of the Fairhaven Shipyard's North Yard, which Rowe and the Lueys say has been making their lives miserable with a combination of noise and particulate pollution.
On this day, workers were grinding at two fishing vessels, the black Chief and Clyde II and the green Stephanie Vaughn.
The grinders sounded like lawn mowers, and lifted from each hull wisps of dust that swirled in the wind as they blew toward Rowe's porch.
"If this were as bad as it ever was," Rowe said, "we wouldn't have an issue."
Residents of Middle and Water Streets describe living near the shipyard as living in "a nightmare," "a war zone" and "a dentist's office."
It's not just the noise, but also potential pollution that has them wary of the shipyard and concerned for their health.
Shipyard owner Gail Isaksen denies that her business has broken any environmental regulations. She said residents should expect noise when living near "the working waterfront."
"If you live near an airport you get the sounds of airplanes," she said.