DERBY – A group of Derby and Holland residents are seeking party status in the regulatory process already underway about the Derby Line Wind Project – over the objections of the developer.
The group includes several outspoken critics of the proposed two large turbines for Derby farm fields between Derby Line village and the town of Holland on the U.S. – Canadian border.
Also applying to become an intervenor in the process before the Vermont Public Service Board is Derby Line resident Mary Jenne, who lives on Pelow Hill about a mile from the nearest proposed turbine on the other side of Interstate 91 and the U.S. port of entry.
The board’s hearing officer has already granted intervenor status to the towns of Derby and Holland, the village of Derby Line. Other parties are the consumer advocates at the Vermont Department of Public Service and the Agency of Natural Resources, interested in the environmental impact of the turbines.
Chad Farrell of Encore Redevelopment said Tuesday that he has spoken many times in the Derby area about the wind project since last summer and there was no reason for Jenne and the group of residents to try and intervene so late in the process.
The approved intervenors, like attorneys for the state, are already interviewing Farrell and his experts over the project. Deadlines are looming in the formal process.
The group of residents, led by Vicky Farrand-Lewis of Derby, said in the application to the board that they are worried about property values, noise and the aesthetics of the project.
“Most residents listed own property within one mile of this proposed industrial sized wind project,” stated Lewis in the request dated April 2.
“One of our concerns regards the devaluation of our real estate properties within close proximity to this project.”
She noted that a Derby property owner who lives next to a small windmill owned by Sen. Vincent Illuzzi successfully had the town reduce his property tax bill because of the impact of the windmill.
The group consists of Keith and Ruth Gray, Lewis and her husband Daniel, Herbert Lewis, Ralph and Nathan Paradis, Dara Mon Desire, Richard and Bonnie Joyal, Douglas and Barbara Gray, Susanne Moulton, Michael Wonson, Warren Friske and Paige Warthin and Glenda Nye. Lewis is identified as secretary and contact person. She signed the request.
Jenne, the mother of Selectwoman Karen Jenne of Derby, said in her motion to intervene on March 31 that she is concerned about the effects of “infrasound on my health due to pre-existing health conditions.”
Infrasound has been described as pressure waves from turbine blades that can’t be heard.
She is also concerned that her property would be affected by blasting, which occurred when the interstate was built near her home, and that her property value would be affected.
The motions were filed after a public hearing was held March 26 in Derby.
An attorney for Encore Redevelopment, which wants to put up the two turbines before the end of the year, told hearing officer John Cotter in a response that the two motions to intervene were filed too late and would delay the process that is already underway. The deadline to seek intervenor status had been the week of town meeting.
However, Cotter had said that he would entertain late requests for party status – because a snow storm postponed the public hearing by nearly a month – but he wanted an explanation of why they were late.
“The group filed its letter requesting intervention almost a month past that deadline and without any information to demonstrate that it was not in a position to file earlier,” Encore attorney Leslie Cadwell wrote to Cotter. “For that reason alone the group’s request should be denied.”
“In addition, the group should not be given special party status because the issues about which it expresses concern are adequately represented by at least three different parties in this proceeding,” including the two state agencies, she wrote.
The group of residents and Jenne are not adjoining landowners “and they have not demonstrated that they are within a zone of impact of the proposed projects,” Cadwell wrote.
“Therefore their concerns are no different than that of all residents and the public interest generally.”
Encore also said that a group should be represented by an attorney who could speak for all the members.
Farrell said he would return to speak to Holland residents at the request of Holland selectmen on Tuesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Holland town office. He expects to provide updated information about noise studies taken this winter.
Farrell had planned initially to be at the Derby Select Board meeting Monday. However, he said that the Derby board chairman Brian Smith told him that the board would not have time to discuss the project at length at that meeting.
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