With the influential and positive clean energy endorsement by federal and state governments plus the revenue gained by individual land owners and local taxing authorities, it is obvious wind turbines are on their way to Tioga County. Though property owners should have the right to do what they want on their own property, placement of wind turbines must not cause an unacceptable problem for adjacent or neighboring home owners who have not signed leases. Two operational problems can occur: Noise and sunlight blade flicker.
By proper and considerate positioning of wind turbines these few potential problems will not occur and will be non-existent. However, should a wind energy corporation be uncaring, arrogant or put profit ahead of the residents, it is the responsibility of County Government to protect the people through explicit problem definition and problem management coupled with strong enforcement in the form of a county ordinance.
In America, the biggest investment a working family makes is the purchase of a home. If you borrow $100,000 over 30 years at 6 percent you end up paying back $200,000. This does not include maintenance such as a new roof, a new furnace or replacing old appliances over the 30 years. Yes, American families work long and hard to own and maintain a home. Wind energy companies deny that property values will be reduced if a home is near its wind turbines.
Ask yourself this question: someone wants to buy a home like yours in Tioga County. Someone else has a home similar to yours and it’s for sale too. If there are wind turbines near your home and not near the other home for sale, which home will sell at the higher price? Do windmills make an annoying swishing noise as the huge blades rotate? It’s obvious that if they are placed inappropriately east or west of a home, as the sun rises in the morning or sets in the evening there is the possibility of a sunlight flickering affect.
This is caused by the sun’s rays interrupted by the rotating blades. The word annoying would not begin to describe this problem if flickering occurs on or near your home. Many home owners sign leases with the wind energy companies, willing to trade some discomfort for monetary value. They should be excluded from any needed rules or regulations. Wind turbines are coming to Tioga County. How many? No one knows. Common sense dictates there will be many hundreds or maybe many thousands. A good analogy would be “they will be like ants coming to a picnic.” Let us all hope that the Tioga County commissioners and their selected planning commission members will do the right thing to protect the people of Tioga County.
Leon J. Kocher
7 March 2008
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