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Holland: No to Derby Line Wind

HOLLAND – The Holland Select Board unanimously voted no to the Derby Line Wind project Monday evening.

Even though the developer has said he will not pursue one of the turbines and has put the other on hold until next year, the board wanted to go on record with its opposition. The board members also noted that many residents made the request that the board officially vote.

Encore Redevelopment of Burlington applied for two Certificates of Public Good with the Vermont Public Service Board to construct one turbine on Smugglers Hill Farm, owned by Jayne and Jonathan Chase, and one at Grand View Farm, owed by Bryan and Susan Davis.

The proposal became increasingly controversial and many, including Canadians, were in an uproar. Many stated concerns over potential side effects from the turbines such as health problems from noise and decrease in property values. The two turbines planned were over 420 feet tall. The turbine on Smugglers Hill Farm was near the Canadian border with Canadian homes located about 1,000 feet away.

Encore said it would not pursue the Smugglers Hill turbine but said the one proposed for Grand View would be sought again next year.

The meeting was held at the Holland Elementary School to accommodate a potentially large crowd. Approximately 30 people attended.

Town Moderator Ernie Emmerson was present to moderate the meeting and said it would be run like Town Meeting with no hollering permitted. He limited speaking to two minutes, and strictly maintained the time limit through the public comment time.

Comments on the wind project were made prior to the official vote.

Most who spoke criticized the project. Suzie Moulton said she would support a no vote from the board as a show of protecting the community.

Brian Bidwell said he moved to Holland to get away from industrialization and urged the board to vote no.

Mitch Wonson said there is still some confusion on exactly where the project stands.

Robert Cooper pointed out mistakes made by Encore such as not notifying all adjoining land owners who were supposed to be notified under Public Service Board rules. He questioned Encore’s application to withdraw its requests for the Certificates of Public Good. “It’s time to nip this in the bud and end it now,” he stated.

Warren Friske and others said they are pro-wind, but in the right place. “This project is way too big,” Friske said. “We should have smaller wind mills.”

Ron Patenaude acknowledged that Encore made mistakes, but said that he didn’t think it was intentional. He thought a vote Monday was premature and that the select board should wait until spring, if Encore comes back with a new proposal.