South Gippsland Shire is demanding the landowners wanting to subdivide tell likely buyers of the “detrimental” effect of the Bald Hills Wind Farm.
Some landowners believe the requirement opens the door for them to seek compensation for lowered land values. The first landowner to be hit by the requirement is Noel Uren.
Mr Uren, who did not wish to comment, must tell those inquiring about his subdivision about the detrimental effects of wind turbine noise, blade flicker and blade glint.
The council’s condition is believed to be the first legal requirement of its kind. The council opposed the wind farm being built, but was powerless to stop it.
Neighbouring landowner Don Fairbrother said the council’s requirement was “black and white” recognition of his concerns. “It does raise serious questions about where we go from here” he said.
“This has repercussions for the area around every wind farm in Victoria.”
Mr Fairbrother said it was unclear how many properties would constitute a “buffer zone” for the 10km long wind farm.
Wind Power director Andrew Newbold said he was ‘staggered’ at the council’s action.
“I don’t know tha they’re qualified to give that assessment….the conditions under which we’re building are in complliance with all regulations and standards,” he said.
Councillor David Lewis said the ruling was designed to avoid legal battles.
“People buying into this area can’t say they didn’t know” Cr Lewis said.
“The intention is to protect ratepayers from legal confrontations with large companies over noise issues.”
Cr Lewis has since spoken to residents who “raised good issues” and conceded the condition may have created more headaches than it solved.
A valuer told Mr Fairbrother in 2004 that the wind farm devalued his property by more than $350,000.
Cr Lewis agreed Mr Uren’s property had also been devalued. Mr Uren’s subdivision lots are more than 40ha, large enough for a residence.
He can appeal the condition at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Mr Fairbrother said the turbines were a danger to white-bellied sea eagles, orange-bellied parrots, swift parrots and snipe.
“The conditions say that if any of those birds are killed, towers will be shut down – investors need to know that,” he said.
By Leslie White
12 December 2007
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