DERBY – Derby Line Wind developers expect to have an offer of payments in lieu of taxes for the town of Derby by or before next week’s public hearing about the project.
The size of the annual payments to Derby are one of the outstanding issues to be worked out as the project developers seek a certificate of public good from state utility regulators.
Wind developer Chad Farrell of Encore Redevelopment has offered a “good neighbor” payment of $15,000 annually to the town of Holland to help cover the electricity bills for the school and town.
On Wednesday, Farrell said Encore would not make the same kind of payment to the town of Stanstead, Quebec, which is in the “viewshed” of the proposed two large turbines.
Farrell talked about the payments Wednesday at one of several informal meetings he had with area town and village leaders. Farrell and Derby dairy farmer Bryan Davis, who wants to host one of the turbines on his farm field near Interstate 91 on the border, talked about the status of the project and sought to answer questions.
They met at noon Wednesday at the Stanstead town office with Stanstead Mayor Philippe Dutil, and then at 6 p.m. in the Derby town office with Derby Select Board Chairman Brian Smith and Keith Beadle, chairman of the Derby Line board of trustees.
Several residents also attended.
Smith said Farrell talked about the intervention process and other issues. The Derby Select Board will meet next Friday at 6:30 p.m. to decide whether the town should become a party or intervenor in the project’s regulatory hearings in Montpelier. The select board wants to hear what Derby residents have to say first at the public hearing Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Derby Elementary School.
Encore wants to erect two industrial wind turbines up on two farms in Derby near Derby Line and Holland.
“Being an intervenor is not so much a bad thing,” Smith said.
He said it might be a good way to be able to ask questions. But he didn’t want to speak on behalf of the rest of the select board.
Smith had told the select board several weeks ago that he planned to talk with Farrell soon.
Beadle said the Derby Line village trustees would decide whether the village should intervene in the hearing process at their March 6 regular meeting at 6:30 in the village hall.
Derby Line trustees wanted Beadle to meet with Farrell to ask questions about the potential impact of the turbines and the construction of the sites on the two Derby farms on International Water Company’s reservoir and lines, Beadle said.
Both Derby Line and Stanstead share the water company and reservoir.
Farrell provided a draft of a study by an engineer hired by Encore to look at the reservoir, which found that the reservoir is too far away for there to be an impact from blasting, Beadle said.
“There’s no way tremors should bother it,” Beadle said.
Farrell said Encore arranged for a pre-blast examination of the reservoir and will monitor it during and after the blasting.
Stanstead Mayor Philippe Dutil said that he was meeting with Farrell to get the latest information about the impact on the reservoir.
No one has called him to complain about the proposed turbines, Dutil said.
“The only people who called us about it are reporters,” he said.
The meeting between Farrell and Smith upset several opponents, including Vicky Lewis of Derby who attended the Wednesday discussion with Farrell.
She found out about the meeting Wednesday afternoon and questioned why Smith had not announced the meeting to fellow board members.
“I am concerned that the residents didn’t know about it. What particularly concerned me is that the full board didn’t know about it,” Lewis said Thursday.
Selectwoman Karen Jenne said Wednesday that she knew about the meeting through her role as the Derby Line village clerk.
She said she should have been told about it by Smith.
The meeting was not advertised because it was not a formal public meeting of any board.
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