In the letter, Big Sky said it understands that residents also have complaints about noise and flicker. The company said it's prepared to offer a fair monetary settlement to resolve those issues, as well. To start those settlement discussions, Big Sky requires that residents sign confidentiality agreements already sent out. The company asks that those agreements be faxed to its attorney in California.
OHIO – A wind company has made its “last and final offer” to residents complaining about problems with their TV reception, which they blame on nearby turbines. Big Sky Wind, a subsidiary of Edison Mission Group, has a wind farm with turbines in Lee and Bureau counties.
Bureau County residents near the turbines have been particularly vocal about TV reception and noise problems. They also have complained about shadow flicker, which are the shadows of rotating blades that pass over windows that experts say cause seizures in some people.
Last week, Big Sky sent letters via Federal Express to residents who have complained about the problems.
In the letter, the company stated it had offered a settlement of $2,500 for each resident to resolve their TV reception complaints.
“We believe this to be a fair market offer that has already been accepted by several of your neighbors,” the letter says. “With this in mind, we consider the $2,500 to be our best, last and final offer to resolve your TV reception complaint.”
In the letter, Big Sky said it understands that residents also have complaints about noise and flicker. The company said it’s prepared to offer a fair monetary settlement to resolve those issues, as well.
To start those settlement discussions, Big Sky requires that residents sign confidentiality agreements already sent out. The company asks that those agreements be faxed to its attorney in California.
Big Sky spokesman Charley Parnell said the letter and confidentiality agreement are intended to jump-start settlement discussions. He said most of the complaints his firm has received have come from Bureau County, but a few have come from Lee County.
Parnell said his company has received many more complaints about this wind farm than it has about others around the country.
“The vast majority of our complaints have to do with TV reception. This is our first experience on that front,” he said.
Mark Wagner, a supporter of greater wind farm regulations in Lee County, said the letter is the “same old story.” Companies put up their turbines with the approval of county governments, making many promises that they won’t bother neighbors, he said.
“They say the problems won’t happen, and then they do,” he said. “They don’t remediate the problems because you have to physically move the turbines; they won’t do that. They’ll pay you off and keep you quiet. That’s the pattern we’re seeing.”
Parnell said his company is following Bureau County’s ordinance on wind farms.
“We have to mitigate the issues. We’re working through a process to mitigate the complaints and concerns,” he said.
The Big Sky wind farm has 58 turbines in Lee County and 56 in Bureau County. It covers 13,000 acres.
Another company, Chicago-based Midwest Wind Energy, is planning the Walnut Ridge wind farm, which would be next to Big Sky’s in Bureau County.
Some Walnut-area residents are trying to delay the proposed project until further study can be done. The group’s members say Big Sky’s issues trouble them.
The Bureau County Zoning Board of Appeals expects to decide today whether to recommend conditional-use permits for the Walnut Ridge project.
Meeting today in Bureau County
The Bureau County Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. today at the courthouse, 700 S. Main St., Princeton. Members are expected to vote on whether to recommend the Walnut Ridge wind farm project be granted extensions to conditional-use permits that expire this year. The final decision will be made by the Bureau County Board.
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