The Enfield Town Planning Board is set to recommend minimum set-back standards for wind towers for a proposed wind farm.
The 400-foot turbines must be set a minimum of 600 feet from property lines, power line and roads unless an easement can be obtained.
In January 2007, John Rancich approached the Enfield Town Board with a proposal to erect approximately 10 to 15 wind towers on Connecticut Hill.
Rancich said the set-backs are what he is monitoring most closely as the board finalizes their recommendations for the law. By press time Wednesday the planning board had not voted to recommend the law to the town board, but said they would like to present their progress.
Two comments were made asking the planning board not to lower the minimum set-back requirements from one and a half times the tower’s height. Cliff Newhart requested the minimum set-back standard increase. Newhart said he was citing the French Academy of Medicine when he addressed health concerns from low-frequency sounds.
Rancich said he is concerned about the minimum set-back requirements from certain property lines and asked that the property line clause be struck from the law. The request met with quiet uproar from attendees at the meeting and the planning board did not act on his request.
Approximately 13 residents were present at the meeting.
Rancich’s concern is that the amount of long, skinny properties on Connecticut Hill may be cause for dispute among neighbors in the future. He said some properties that are 400 feet wide have 30 acres, but that their distance from neighbor’s property lines could prevent a tower from coming onto their property. Rancich said there are many properties with similar measurements.
Rancich is concerned that one property owner would grant an easement to have a tower on, or near their property, but that a neighbor, jealous the tower is not on their property would not grant the easement, and no tower would go up, he said.
Property owners who allow towers will receive some payment for the energy gathered, giving some residents incentive to grant easements.
“I don’t know that I’ll be able to get enough cooperation from these long, narrow property owners,” Rancich said. “(A neighbor) can control somebody else’s land and what they can do with their land” if the property-line provision stays in the law, he said.
Planning board member Debbie Teeter addressed how an Enfield law might be able to protect Enfield residents if Rancich’s wind farm spread to Newfield. She said that if the wind farm does spread and Newfield does not have a law similar to Enfield’s, some home owners may have wind farms closer to their home than they would like. She said the planning board would have to consult an attorney to find out how to remedy that situation.
By Tim Ashmore
6 September 2007
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