ROCK FALLS – Appraiser Michael Crowley has argued for years that wind farms don’t hurt nearby property values. He stuck to that position this week.
Crowley, a Spring Valley-based real estate appraiser, has been hired by wind energy companies for at least 5 years to testify before zoning commissions.
Wednesday, he spoke to the Whiteside County Planning and Zoning Commission, which is holding hearings on Mainstream Renewable Power’s plan for nine turbines in the southeastern part of the county.
He consulted with real estate appraisers from wind areas in Midwestern states, he said, and based on his analysis, the proposed turbines near Deer Grove would not “adversely affect property values of surrounding real estate.”
He acknowledged an “anticipatory decline” in property values after a project starts, but said that “tends to be alleviated” relatively soon after.
Shari Batten, who lives within a half-mile of the proposed turbines, asked Crowley if he was saying that her property value wouldn’t go down because of the turbines.
He stopped short of that.
“I can tell you that it hasn’t anywhere else,” he said, adding that other factors influence property values.
Another Illinois appraiser, Michael McCann, has gone to communities around the state to argue just the opposite – that wind turbines do cause nearby property values to drop.
He has suggested a 2-mile distance between homes and turbines – much farther than Whiteside County’s 1,400 feet, which is a little more than a quarter-mile.
“Impacts are most pronounced within the ‘footprint’ of such projects, and many ground-zero homes have been completely unmarketable …,” he said in a report to the Adams County Board in 2010.
The Whiteside commission has made no decision on the Mainstream proposal, which also includes turbines in Lee and Bureau counties.
The panel will meet again May 2.
In Lee County, a proposed wind energy ordinance includes a home-seller protection program, which creates a complex process in which wind energy companies compensate nearby homeowners struggling to sell their homes.
The program is the main reason that Mainstream opposes the Lee County proposal.
The County Board is expected to vote on it next month.
The Whiteside County Planning and Zoning Commission meets at 7 p.m. May 2 at the Rock Falls Community Building, 601 W. 10th St. Meetings last 21/2 hours.
The commission will hear testimony on Mainstream Renewable Power’s planned wind farm.
Call Whiteside County’s zoning office at 815-772-5175 for more information.
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