After Enfield town attorney Guy Krogh expressed his concerns with wind farm developer John Rancich’s developer’s agreement, a second version of the agreement along with a property-value guarantee was submitted to the town two weeks ago.
The developer’s agreement is written up as if it’s clarifying the first developer’s agreement, and the housing-values guarantee lays out an offer for Rancich to sign purchasing offers at 110 percent of the market value, among other things.
Krogh’s opinion on the first developer’s agreement was negative, and he described proposed payments to the town as a “bribe.”
In the new agreement, Rancich describes payments to the town as payments in lieu of taxes, which complies more closely to Krogh’s explanation that payments to the town should be tied to estimated town expenses or be written as a tax-deductible gift to the town.
If the Enfield Town Board does not accept a developer’s agreement before it has a wind law in place, which town Supervisor Frank Podufalski hopes is in place by the end of 2008, Rancich’s plan to buy wind turbines could be derailed for years.
At the June town board meeting, Rancich asked that any concerns Krogh had with the agreement be forwarded to him before the July meeting to give him time to make changes to the agreement.
Rancich and his associate Steve Bauman explained to the town board in June that a large wind-turbine purchase was canceled and opened the door for Rancich’s company, Enfield Energy LLC, to step in and buy the turbines in the third fiscal quarter of 2009. High demand for the turbines and limited supply has them on back order for the next several years. Bauman estimated the wait could be up to four years.
In a cover letter to the town board, Rancich and Bauman write that the reason for the agreement is to assure investors that the town is behind the project and will not attempt to block it. Bauman’s most recent estimate of the amount the turbines will cost was $10 million.
The town board has not yet directed Krogh to examine the second submission, but in his first critique he said while developer’s agreements are common, most towns would operate under both a local law and a developer’s agreement.
If the town were to adopt the developer’s agreement, it would function as the law, he said.
The new agreement addresses abandonment issues regarding the farm and payments to residents within a 1,250-foot radius of the towers, which Rancich refers to as the “footprint,” that include initial compensation of $500 with annual payments to equal 1 percent of the farm’s gross revenue.
Podufalski said he expects the town board to take action on the original agreement before it addresses the recent submission. Many critics of the proposed wind farm have praised Podufalski for moving slowly with wind-related issues.
By Tim Ashmore
5 July 2008
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