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Landowners say turbines have hurt their property values  

Credit:  By Colleen Kottke, Oshkosh Northwestern, 20 September 2009, thenorthwestern.com ~~

In the years since the Forward Wind Energy Center came on line, “For Sale” signs have popped up all over Gerry Meyer’s rural neighborhood in the town of Byron.

“There’s about six homes that are still for sale,” said Meyer, who has five towering turbines within three-quarters of a mile of his home on County Trunk Y south of Fond du Lac.

Meyer is convinced that the aesthetically displeasing look of the 400-foot turbines and subsequent ill effects experienced by nearby residents from the noise, vibration and light-flicker has caused housing values to plummet.

A just-released study commissioned by wind-power opponents concurs, saying that property values have fallen at least 19 percent for properties located near the We Energies wind farm in Fond du Lac County and 12 percent for those located near Invenergy’s Forward Wind Energy Center in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties.

The study by Appraisal Group One was commissioned by a Calumet County affiliate of the state Coalition for Wisconsin Environmental Steward, a group fighting a We Energies wind farm project in Columbia County.

‘Quite a reach’

Brian Manthey, a spokesman for We Energies, said the report failed to make accurate comparisons in properties used to track declining values.

“They compared subdivision and lake view lots when the properties in our wind farm area were considered agricultural lots back in 2006. Ultimately, they figured in the sale of four lots, which is tough to draw any comparisons when using such a small scale,” said Manthey, who described the report’s findings as “quite a reach.”

Since construction of the 88-turbine project in the Blue Sky Green Field project in the towns of Calumet and Marshfield, Manthey said 12 homes have been sold; some homes sold above assessed value while others sold below fair market values. Manthey said the report is misleading in that it doesn’t take into consideration other factors impacting property values.

“The economy and the housing market collapse have really turned everything on its head,” Manthey said. “Those kinds of things aren’t just factors but a dominant force in how property values are measured and what effect it has on the selling and purchasing of homes – not just the proximity of wind turbines.”

Frank Adashun, co-owner of Adashun Jones in Fond du Lac and director of the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin (RANW), said the property value percentages presented in the report are unproven.

“In my opinion, those numbers cannot be quantified with the statistics available right now through the multiple listing service of the RANW because there haven’t been the sales to prove it,” Adashun said. “There is no way to gauge the direct impact that wind turbines have on sales and property values unless you compare sales, and there hasn’t been enough to provide a percentage or deduction.”

Smaller pool of buyers

While he is in support of alternative energy, Fond du Lac realtor Scott Swick believes that the close proximity of wind turbines to residential homes may reduce property values.

“They’re harder to sell, especially with potential homebuyers that are sensitive to anything that appears to be negative in their backyard,” Swick said.

With the economic downturn and high unemployment rates, Swick said there is a smaller pool of home buyers. And those living in the shadow of the wind turbines may be motivated enough to reduce their selling price just to secure a sale.

“If the housing market started to increase and yet the prices remained depressed in the area of the wind turbines, it would be a better indicator that the turbines were having a direct impact,” Swick said “But it’s hard to isolate one element when there are so many elements involved in a declining market.”

Tony and Liv Moyer, who built their dream home out in the country in the town of Empire, have no doubts that their home would sell at a loss. Their Pine Road home is located within the Alliant Energy Cedar Ridge Wind Farm.

“When you have 400-foot turbines on all sides of your house, and you can’t even open your windows at night because of the noise, it definitely has an impact on our property value,” Moyer said.

Adashun said wind turbines are a distraction and concern for many home buyers due to the visual impact, noise and flashing red lights at night.

“But on the other hand, we’ve sold many homes near wind turbines. You just have to find a buyer that doesn’t have any concerns with the wind farm,” Adashun said.

Source:  By Colleen Kottke, Oshkosh Northwestern, 20 September 2009, thenorthwestern.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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