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Derby wind: Holland resident threatens to sue  

Credit:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Orleans Record, orleanscountyrecord.com 19 April 2012 ~~

HOLLAND – Several Holland property owners say they will sue if their property’s values are hurt by the installation of two industrial-sized wind turbines in Derby.

John Wagner told the developer of the Derby Line Wind Project on Tuesday at a meeting at the Holland Elementary School that he won’t sit by and watch his property value harmed.

“My plan is to have property assessed prior to and after and sue you if values are damaged,” Wagner said to Chad Farrell of Encore Redevelopment. He hoped other property owners would join him.

“Our home is being destroyed.”

Wagner said he pays $2,000 in property taxes now to the town of Holland.

If his property value is reduced and his taxes are reduced, that still wouldn’t make up for the loss to his family, he said.

Wagner also said that his property abuts one of the two farms where the two 425-foot turbines are proposed and he did not receive official notice of the application for state permits. Farrell said that he believed all abutting property owners were notified as required by state rules. He asked to talk with Wagner after the meeting about the lack of notice, but Wagner refused.

Wagner said he was not alarmed by the idea of wind turbines in Derby at first. But then he went online and found out that some farming communities like Holland are being overwhelmed with wind turbines.

“We need to stop this before it gets in here,” Wagner said to the Holland Select Board, which hosted the informational meeting with Farrell.

“I implore you to do anything you can,” he said.

The select board could have a town plan that discourages turbines on Holland farms, selectmen said.

But several of the two dozen people, mostly critics of the wind project, said that the town and residents can’t stop the project.

“Ultimately if we look at Lowell and the others, these are going in,” said one resident.

Farrell said that he understood that some residents are opposed. He cited federal government studies that show that property values are not harmed by wind projects.

“Would you personally guarantee no impact?” asked one resident.

“I can’t do that,” Farrell said.

But he added that any issues that are found after construction, such as higher than allowed sound levels inside homes near the turbines, would be mitigated. Homes could be fitted with sound-barrier insulation, for example, he said.

Resident Jennifer Martin said that she wanted to know for sure that she and her family, including their “million-dollar-baby” daughter Annabelle would not suffer health impacts from the turbine’s noise.

Annabelle, now six years old, has had three heart surgeries, her mother said.

Farrell said these turbines would not cause the problems that other wind projects had. He cited several recent cases at Mars Hill in Maine, where the turbines were placed too close together, or in Massachusetts, where the turbines were old and caused noise problems.

Farrell explained the $5 million two-turbine project and said the goal is to provide a small-scale renewable energy source that would help working farmers.

But residents maintained their opposition. The Holland Select Board, like Derby and Derby Line, has intervenor status before the Vermont Public Service Board, where the regulatory hearing process is already underway.

Source:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Orleans Record, orleanscountyrecord.com 19 April 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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