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Wind farm drawing attention

Livingston County officials have received a letter from a lawyer asking for a “property value guarantee plan” if the Streator Cayuga Ridge South wind farm is approved.

Attorney Richard S. Porter, representing People Protecting Cayuga Ridge (PPCR), sent the letter to members of the County Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the county’s zoning administrator. The letter was released to the media by Judy Campbell, of rural Cornell and a candidate for the County Board in the November election.

She was among county residents who testified about the wind-farm project during the 10-session public hearing held by the zoning board between April 28 and Monday. That board on Monday recommended to the County Board that the special use permit that would allow the wind farm be approved. The Agriculture and Zoning Committee of the County Board will consider that recommendation and the project at its meeting tonight at 6 at the county’s Public Safety Complex. The County Board is expected to vote on the permit this month.

Porter, whose office is in Rockford, wrote that his PPCR clients “are objecting to that application and will be presenting a formal defense to the proposed northern project when hearings are finally held on that matter.”

“It is obvious that this proposal will severely and negatively impact many of your citizens’ use and enjoyment of their properties, negatively impact their property values, and cause noise pollution,” the letter, dated June 27, says. “If despite this evidence you decide to recommend approval of the application you should at a minimum include a property value guarantee plan.”

The zoning board’s findings and recommendations that was approved by a 6-0 vote Monday says that there will be “no substantial reduction on the value of neighboring property as a result of the Project.” Property considerations are one of the criteria that must be addressed in considering a special use permit under this county’s zoning ordinance.

Porter’s letter attached a plan which he wrote “will assure that the property values of those people within the footprint and a short distance beyond the footprint are protected. It is my understanding the applicant has taken the position that there is no property value loss and you will see from this plan that if such is the case, then indeed it will cost them absolutely nothing. The plan is designed such that it is not contingent upon any third party sale. Rather it merely relies upon the well reasoned opinions of qualified real estate appraisers who have expertise in determining property value loss. If indeed these qualified professionals determine that there is a property value loss then obviously that should be borne by the turbine company. Accordingly, if you are going to recommend approval of the proposed southern turbine plant you should include a condition that the applicant must honor the attached property value guarantee plan.”

By John Faddoul, Staff Reporter

Pontiac Daily Leader

2 July 2008