MILTON, Vt. – Dan Fitzgerald says he’s served his country in the military, served Milton on the select board for 10 years and recently got served by Georgia Mountain Community Wind.
“I see no community in this whatsoever,” Fitzgerald said.
The four-turbine, 10-megawatt project started in May. The Fitzgerald family owns 270 acres, some of which abuts the project.
“They’re talking green energy but the only green I’m seeing is going in pockets,” Fitzgerald said.
Georgia Mountain Community Wind is suing members of the Fitzgerald family for a series of legal actions, including intentionally stopping the company from blasting recently. He and two others refused to move away from the 1,000-foot blasting safety zone– 800 feet of which is on their property. Police even responded, serving a no trespass notice on the Fitzgerald property.
“They’re pretty much determining what people can do with their property and I have a major problem with that. Property rights is big in my book,” Fitzgerald said.
“We had to delay the blast and had to have the blast company sit in the area that charges during that period,” said Martha Staskus of Northeast Wind.
The lawsuit states that no people other than construction workers can be in the safety zone Monday-Friday, 3-5 p.m. Because of the Certificate of Public Good, it is legal to request the Fitzgeralds move because it’s in the interest of all Vermonters.
Gina Bullard: Did anyone talk to the Fitzgeralds before legal action was taken?
Martha Staskus: Well yeah, we talked to Dan and he said he wasn’t going to leave. He was trying to stop the project.
“I don’t like it. I don’t like it and it’s not because it’s in my backyard, not the NIMBY thing,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald says the $30 million price tag and lack of energy output are his issues, along with the rocks that are flying onto his property.
“We’ve got pieces of rock that are 240 feet on our property, at least,” Fitzgerald said.
“The general contractor has looked for those and they haven’t found them. I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Staskus said.
If the Fitzgeralds do not comply with the safety zone requirements, Georgia Mountain Wind plans to sue for compensation.
“It’s not right,” Fitzgerald said. “We don’t have the money to do this. We’re just everyday, common Vermonters.”
Lawyers say if the Fitzgeralds stay out of the safety zone, everything will be fine.
The closest home to the 800-foot safety zone on the property is over a quarter mile away. The wind project is set to be complete by the end of this year.
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