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Derby wind opponents resurrect Buzzell case

DERBY – Several opponents of the proposed Derby Line Wind Project have stated concerns over potential property value decline and cite, as an example, a Derby property that was listed on the tax roles at a lower value after the owner complained about a wind turbine on a neighboring property.

The George Buzzell property in Derby was reduced in 2008 by approximately ten percent of its assessed value after Buzzell said that the turbine on Sen. Vince Illuzzi’s property impacted Buzzell’s property.

According to Derby Lister Tom Cyr, Buzzell, who has since passed away, complained of noise, shadow flicker, and “a host of other issues” from the turbine, which was a couple hundred feet away from his home. The turbine had a defective part that created the sound and was in need of repair, Cyr explained.

Buzzell appealed his property value to the Derby Board of Listers and argued that it should be lowered based on the effects of the turbine.

The listers denied Buzzell’s request. Buzzell then appealed the lister’s decision to the Derby Board of Civil of Authority. The board ruled in favor of Buzzell and directed the listers to reassess the property and decrease the property value by approximately 10 percent.

Cyr says it is impossible for the Derby Listers to know what would happen to property values around the proposed project in Derby before it is constructed. He said they cannot use statistics from other towns because each town is different and has its own set of issues. The listers make decisions based on statistical data when houses sell. Cyr has heard rumors that property values could decline by about 10 percent from the Derby project, but that cannot be proven yet.

Two farms just east of the Village of Derby Line want one turbine each on their property. The turbines would be approximately 430 feet tall at the tip of the blades. Hundreds of residents would be impacted from the proposed turbines.

There are a few other small turbines in Derby, and Cyr has heard no complaints about them.

Chad Farrell of Encore Redevelopment, the developer for the Derby project, says the Buzzell property situation is unique and he intends to reach out to the Derby assessors to find out more about the situation.

According to Farrell’s research, property values are not affected.

Meanwhile, Farrell is planning to attend a special Holland Select Board meeting on Tuesday, April 17, for a question and answer period. He was going to attend the Derby Select Board meeting on April 16, but the chair of the board, Brian Smith, said that the town has far too many other issues to address that night.

Derby has formed a committee to work on issues of concern for the town on the project. Smith will wait to hear from the committee on when they want to speak with the select board, and will hold a special select board meeting at that time. Smith is not sure Farrell will be invited to the meeting; he said it depends on what the committee wants.