Potsdam, NY – Wind farms reduced the value of nearby real estate in two Northern New York counties, but not in a third.
Martin D. Heintzelman and Carrie M. Tuttle, of Clarkson University, studied 11,331 real estate transactions over nine years and found that the value of property near wind turbines dropped in Clinton and Franklin counties. But they found no impact in Lewis County.
The paper they produced, “Values in the Wind: A Hedonic Analysis of WindPower Facilities,” hasn’t been finalized, Heintzelman said, but an earlier version has been shared by opponents of wind farms. (Hedonic is a economic term referring to estimating value or utility).
A March version of the paper, distributed by opponents of a wind-farm proposal for Cape Vincent in Jefferson County, found an overall decrease in values among properties neighboring wind turbines in Clinton, Franklin and Lewis counties.
But Heintzelman said the research was reviewed, and combining the counties, it turned out, “was not a reasonable approach.”
The refined findings are, he said, “somewhat more nuanced.”
Heintzelman said past research, including a study of Madison County, showed wind farms had little or no impact on real estate values. But he found that hard to believe.
“Anytime you put a large industrial or manufacturing facility in someone’s backyard,” he said, there is bound to be some impact.
So he and Tuttle, a graduate student, statistically analyzed real estate data, mostly from the state Office of Real Property Services.
They found that placing a wind turbine a half mile from the average property in Franklin or Clinton counties would result in a loss of property value of $10,793 to $19,046. The impact drops off as properties become more distant, he said. At the distance of three miles, the impact is $2,500 to $9,800.
But Lewis County, with the 321-megawatt Maple Ridge Wind Farm, was different. “Lewis County does not see negative impacts,” Heintzelman said.
Asked whether the study’s findings hold lessons for communities weighing wind-power projects, Heintzelman said it could be worth considering how those who have wind turbines near, but not on, their property might be compensated if they see their real estate drop in value.
Other than that, he said, “Sadly, no, I don’t think I have any specific advice.”
[the study can be found here on Wind Watch -NWW]
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