Wind turbines are becoming popular for homeowners, just like solar panels have been. But in at least one case that’s leading to some discord in Reno. Neighbors have stopped a man’s wish for one in his backyard, even though he says he followed the necessary codes and requirements.
Richard Sowers says he just wants to do the right thing, and save a bit on his power bill. The plan was to have his own wind turbine to “lower my carbon footprint…eliminate it if possible. The site here is ideally situated. We’re in a wind zone that’s beyond belief!” If built, it would be just like one built for a family in Washoe Valley. You can see it off old 395 near Thunder Canyon. You can’t miss what looks like a 75-foot-tall eggbeater standing on end. But where some see an eyesore, Richard sees beauty. “I think that propeller-driven wind turbines are pretty attractive.”
Getting the OK takes a bit of red tape. Richard had to follow Washoe County’s Master Plan, the building department codes and set back requirements. Richard says they were all met. But the turbine hit a brick wall…a neighbor – chief deputy district attorney for Washoe County Karl Hall. Sowers thinks Hall had some sway with Judge Brent Adams, who ruled against it, calling the Washoe Valley example gigantic, and said that it would be a visual nuisance for Hall and his wife.
But the Halls say they were not alone in opposing the big machine. Anne Hall told us, “Of the 17 lots that make up Forest Hills subdivision, 16 are against this and 1 is for it.” She says they don’t like what it would do to their view, their quiet, and their property values. Richard says he can’t address that, telling us he’s “not a real estate appraiser.” But Anne says she checked 3 of them, and they back her up. “The 3 that I contacted said because of my personal views and the sound and the placement of the turbine, my property values would go down.”
Sowers says he’s not through fighting for his turbine, even after spending thousands in lawyer fees. He says he’ll appeal the judge’s permanent injunction, because “It’s the right thing to do.” For now, this old south suburban neighborhood is torn apart. And Richard’s wish for wind energy, has hit a dead calm.
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