LOWELL – Green Mountain Power intends to purchase the home and property of a Lowell couple living next to the proposed Lowell wind project.
Bonnie and Milo Day live on Farm Road on 24.5 acres on the west side of the Lowell ridge line, where GMP wants to erect 21 industrial grade wind turbines.
The Days have been active opponents of the wind project called Kingdom Community Wind, participating in the hearings before the Public Service Board and attending many meetings.
Bonnie Day told the board, in written testimony, that their property would be 3,300 feet or 2/3rds of a mile from the nearest turbine
“The idea of looming industrial towers, noise, flicker and flashing lights in such proximity to our property is extremely disturbing,” she said.
And she said that she and her husband are now afraid on their own property, saying they have been the targets of harassment.
GMP confirmed that there is a deal in the works to buy the Day property.
“It is contingent on the project going forward,” GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure said Monday.
The Days approached GMP about selling their property, Schnure said.
The purchase and sale agreement for the property could be signed later this week. Until then, Schnure said she could not discuss details including the sale price.
The property would be used for temporary offices for GMP staff members during construction of the turbines GMP wants to erect on the Lowell ridge line, Schnure said.
GMP would require a temporary conditional use permit for the property, she said.
The Days could not be reached for comment Monday.
An online video on You Tube at //www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DC0qs8R85Q shows Bonnie Day talking about her situation and the Lowell wind project.
GMP wants to erect wind turbines 459 feet tall from the base of the tower to the tip of the blade.
GMP would have to build a road along the ridge line to handle the cranes and tractor-trailers hauling the turbine parts, much in the way that First Wind has done to erect 16 turbines in Sheffield.
GMP officials have said they want to begin construction of the roads and sites for the turbines this August in order to have the turbines spinning by the end of 2012 to secure federal tax credits worth millions of dollars.
But they have to meet key requirements first.
GMP must secure water quality and storm-water runoff permits and meet several other conditions required by state regulators on the Public Service Board.
GMP is waiting for a decision from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources about problems discovered last week. ANR and GMP officials discovered potentially improper ditch and fill operations on land that is intended to be conserved in mitigation for the wind project as well as the cutting of 10 mature trees by a surveyor.
And GMP is waiting to see if Vermont Electric Cooperative members want to partner with GMP to upgrade a power line to handle the electricity from the turbines.
VEC voting ends this evening.
The Days bought their Lowell property 17 years ago “because of its rural beauty and peacefulness. As it is our land, on a private drive backing up to timberland, we thought that it would stay this way as we grew older, and that our children and grandchildren would have the same opportunity,” Bonnie Day said in testimony to the board.
The Day home and land is located off Irish Hill Road, east of Route 100, south of Route 58 and west of the ridge line.
“This involvement has affected me greatly. I’ve had many sleepless nights concerned about the project and the effect it will have on our property and the quality of our lives. … The stress involved in the PSB process has been overwhelming. That, plus the fact that public officials are so slow to recognize the problems inherent in putting industrial wind in close proximity to homes, has increased our stress to a level previously impossible to imagine,” she said. “We have been fighting this battle for nine years.”
Before GMP, another company had wind measurement towers up on the ridge line and had considered turbines there.
Opponents such as the Days are in the minority in Lowell, which voted overwhelmingly to support the wind project and the tax payments from GMP.
Day told the board that the couple suffered “harassment and intimidation” including “mean-spirited” actions such as someone putting a junk trailer near their home, and someone else putting giant cement blocks on the property line in front of their home, she said.
But the last straw, she said, was the loss of another abutting landowner’s barn to fire.
The barn on the property of Don and Shirley Nelson, another couple fighting the wind project, burned down two years ago under mysterious circumstances. No cause was found, but opponents to the wind project believe the barn fire was set deliberately.
“It had never occurred to me that any wind supporters would go so far as to put opponents’ lives in danger,” she wrote. “The thought that we were not safe in our home and community was more than I could handle. I found myself bursting into tears every time I contemplated writing this testimony.”
She said her doctor diagnosed stress-related depression.
She is worried about the noise, shadow flicker, lights on towers, loss of property value and other impacts on her property,
Last fall, she told the Public Service Board to require a buyout plan so GMP could buy out property owners negatively affected by the wind project.
“Wind turbines do not make good neighbors,” she said, begging the board to defend her and her husband.
They asked for a buffer zone of a mile and a half between turbines and neighboring properties, twice the distance that the Day property is from the proposed site of the closest turbine on the Lowell ridge line.
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