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Zoning Evaluation and Property Value Impact Study  

Author:  | Massachusetts, Property values

Zoning Evaluation & Property Value Impact Study of Proposed Wind Turbine Madaket Landfill Nantucket, Massachusetts
Requested by Common Sense Nantucket
Submitted to Town of Nantucket Zoning Board of Appeals

Zoning Evaluation Conclusions

The proposed Madaket Turbine use does not comply with the applicable Nantucket Bylaw for either a height variance (Zoning Board of Appeals) or a Major Site Application (Planning Board). The Madaket Landfill Turbine also meets the Bylaw criteria of a Prohibited Use.

Basis of Opinions

1. The adverse effects on area property values outweigh the financial benefit to the Town of Nantucket. Many homes would be significantly impacted, consistent with the percentage value loss range documented in the McCann property value study and review of other studies. A total loss of homeowner equity is projected to be from $135 million to $270 million. Clearly, this degree of probable impact is far in excess of any economic benefit anticipated by the Town of Nantucket to be derived from the sale of electricity from the Madaket Landfill Turbine.

2. The fiscal impact and impact on local property tax base can be expected to undergo significant and justified pressure for assessment reductions on Nantucket residences, again, within distance ranges studied that reflect significant value losses. The Project will be detrimental to the economic welfare of the community, as measured in fiscal impact of potential assessed valuation appeals and by reason of millions of dollars in property value diminution.

3. The Project is not compatible with the character of the natural open space and marsh land, nor the residential properties with impaired vistas, etc. The Project use will change the essential character of the area in which it is proposed.

4. The project has inadequate setbacks to prevent the Turbine from being disturbing to existing or future permitted uses in the same general vicinity and in the community as a whole.

5. The applicant has not agreed to implement any reasonable measures to mitigate the aesthetic and other impacts of the Project that result in value loss. Property Value Guarantees are effective tools, if carefully designed to leave property owners “whole”, and even the LBNL author now recognizes the validity of a PVG.

6. The turbine height of 325 feet and the spinning, blade flicker and reflection will NOT be in harmony with the visual character of the neighborhood, including views and vistas and the character of the neighborhood. There is nothing built in Nantucket to my knowledge that is the height of a 30+ story building, and the turbine will become the dominant presence within at least a mile or two of any other land use. Views and vistas create value for property, and impairment of vistas with non-compatible, immense, spinning machines simply cannot blend in to any mixed residential area or recreational based community.

7. The turbine’s architectural design will not be compatible with the character and scale of the adjacent and surrounding neighborhoods. Turbines are not architecturally designed but, rather, utilitarian by design. Large steel poles and the spinning (or still) blades are completely disproportionate in scale and contrary to the character of small towns and rural neighborhoods. Despite the denial of wind industry spokespeople of low-frequency or sub-audible noise impacts, the fact remains that a significant number of people are highly disturbed by this type of turbine impact, which clearly demonstrates a lack of compatibility for turbines to be placed in close proximity to residential uses. The design of large scale turbines cannot avoid the noise impacts, including sub-audible, amplitude modulation noise.

8. Liability issues for the Town of Nantucket, as land owner/lessor and owner of the project, are likely to begin if the turbine is developed, as nuisance, health and property value damage claims are litigated. The fiscal impact to the Town could very well suffer in the long-term, despite short term jobs, revenue and benefits anticipated by the Town/Applicant.

Download original document: “Zoning Evaluation and Property Value Impact Study

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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