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Neighbor's windmill lowers property value, civil board rules

DERBY – Being close to a windmill lowers the value of a property, says Derby’s Board of Civil Authority (BCA). After inspecting property belonging to George and Doris Buzzell, the board decided to lower its appraised value by 10 percent from $242,300 to $227,600.

The BCA is made up of Derby’s selectmen, justices of the peace and town clerk. It hears appeals of property assessment grievance decisions made by town listers.

According to the minutes of recent BCA meetings, the Buzzells objected to the recent revaluation of their property on Ridgehill Drive off Shattuck Hill Road. The couple was represented at meetings on October 29 and November 7 by Trevor Evans and Raymond Toolan.

Mr. Toolan argued that noise and light from a windmill within 300 feet of the Buzzells’ house lessens the home’s value. The Buzzells say noises, vibrations and lights from the windmill, owned by Senator Vince Illuzzi and located on his property, interfere with the enjoyment of their home. Mr. Buzzell’s “quality of living is far different today than when he purchased the property,” Mr. Toolan said.

The effects of the windmill on the property vary from day to day, Mr. Toolan told the BCA. Some days the glare from the blades requires the Buzzells to close their blinds. On windy days the noise is very loud.

Derby listers G. Tom Cyr, Nancy Gosselin and Tom Roberts said they were unwilling to lower the property’s value without the results of noise studies. Mr. Cyr said everyone’s tolerance of noise and light is different, and the only way to determine the level of either is with a scientific study.

Such a study would cost between $3,000 and $4,000, the listers said. Mr. Evan’s asked who would bear the cost of such a study.

The BCA decided to send a committee composed of justices of the peace Beula-Jean Shattuck, Shirley Fournier and Elizabeth Bumps to visit the Buzzells’ property and see the situation for themselves. Ms. Shattuck is also a selectman.

The committee went, looked and listened. They reported back to the BCA on November 7, saying that they noticed constant sound from the windmill and flashing lights from its blades.

Mr. Buzzell told them the property, which is distant from the village and traffic, was purchased for peace and quiet. He said the lights and noise are totally distractifig.

Members of the committee recommended that an “8 percent economic depreciation” be applied to the property. They said they feel that the windmill could deter some buyers from purchasing the property, and thus it affects fair market value.

Ms. Bumps said she spoke with a local private appraiser who said that a windmill on neighboring land would decrease a property’s value.

Brian Smith, the chairman of Derby’s Board of Selectmen, moved that the property value be reduced by 10 percent. The motion was seconded by Ms. Bumps and was carried. Derby Selectman and Justice of the Peace Karen Jenne abstained from the vote.

by Joseph Gresser
The (Barton) Chronicle
Nov. 28, 2007