GEORGIA MOUNTAIN, Vt. – A Vermont judge has issued a restraining order against a Milton family ordering them to stay away from the last thousand feet of their own land, at least for the next few weeks.
The property owned by Jane FitzGerald and her son, Dan, abuts the Georgia Mountain Community Wind project – an active construction site high atop the mountain.
Crews are now blasting rock to make way for roads and concrete foundations supporting the four 400-foot turbines going in here – blasting which requires a thousand-foot safety zone.
“They were coming up to the border of the construction site, within the safety zone, and were stopping our blasting activities,” said David Blittersdorf, one of the principal developers of Georgia Mountain Wind.
The FitzGeralds don’t support the turbine project, and think Judge Geoffrey Crawford, along with the Vermont Public Service Board, showed blatant disregard for their private property rights when they sides with the wind developer.
“I’m in a state of shock, I just can’t imagine it,” said Mrs. FitzGerald, 83, who’s owned about 270 acres on Georgia Mountain for half a century, directly across the street from her home.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages and legal fees against the FitzGeralds, or any other person found trespassing within the zone.
“I haven’t got any money. I guess maybe I’m kind of numb just thinking about it,” she said.
Developers note they will forfeit a $8 million federal grant to offset part of the $28 million construction cost if the turbine blades are spinning here by the end of the year, and for that reason they can afford no more delays.
“At the end of the day we’re not going after legal fees or anything,” Blittersdorf told NewsChannel Five, as long as there are no further interruptions. “Yes, we’re incurring costs but we feel this has to be done. We have a permit and we’re going forward.”
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