May 24, 2012

Cranbrook resident sees property values falling 24 May 2012

After a presentation by Cranbrook resident Dennis Mueller, Huron East could be considering a property values bylaw in the near future.
Mueller made a lengthy presentation to Huron East Council on May 15 detailing extensive research he had done on the correlation between wind turbines and property values in the community that hosts them.
Mueller said he and plenty of other Cranbrook-area residents are concerned with the proposed transmission line to be built right through Cranbrook.
He said that if council were to enact a bylaw that protected Huron East residents from plummeting property values associated with wind turbines, it could possibly be a bylaw that could stand up in court.
Several members of council, however, having just gone down this road with a proposed health and safety bylaw, were not quite as convinced.
Mueller said he had research that showed communities hosting wind turbines have seen their property values to go down as much as 20 per cent and homes very close to turbines have seen their values go down as much as 40 per cent.
Some councillors remained cautious, however, saying that none of them had heard about the Municipal Properties Assessment Corporation reducing properties’ assessment already due to wind turbines.
Mueller said the impact of wind turbines going forward may “shock” councillors and the Community Vibrancy Fund being discussed by NextEra Energy that would pay the municipality $65,000 per year for the next 20 years wouldn’t even come close to covering the financial impact turbines will have on the area.
Mueller called the fund a public relations plot.
Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan said Mueller’s comments had some merit because he brought something in writing, including comments on property values from Rob Thomas in Clinton, who Mueller said would stand behind the loss in property values due to wind turbines.
Councillor Larry McGrath said council needed to bring the experts Mueller spoke of, as well as witnesses and homeowners to court in order to help prove the case against wind turbines.
MacLellan said a similar argument over property values was brought against a wind turbine company on Wolf Island, but the residents lost in court.
Deputy-Mayor Joe Steffler said such a bylaw could be opening up a can of worms in a municipality with a lot of industry and agricultural business. Under such a bylaw neighbours would have an avenue to complain about property values due to any industry.

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