March 14, 2013
Letters, Maine

Camp owner for wind ordinance

The Bethel Citizen | March 14, 2013 |

To those that have an interest in the wind towers of Woodstock Maine, I would encourage your support of a wind ordinance.

As a camp owner on Big Concord Pond, I am writing to offer my insight and perspective on the importance of a wind ordinance for every town, large or small. Our camp was one of the first built on this remote wilderness pond and it was positioned with stunning mountain views to the south. We were not happy at the original prospect of the wind tower farm for all the reasons presented from previous projects, such as noise, flicker, flash and the ominous presence of the massive towers and blades. We did keep an open mind as we felt that the green energy was important. Unfortunately, we found that the negative impact is a real concern.

The wind towers have been very bothersome when certain conditions are present. When the blades are positioned toward the sun (with a westerly wind and afternoon western sky sun position) so every afternoon there is a reflective “flash” for each blade of each tower and a “flicker” shadow from each blade of every tower. These words – flash and flicker – held little true meaning until we experienced the effect for ourselves. With eight towers in our direct view, we have 24 blades spinning, catching this reflective flash and flicker. It literally causes physical symptoms; headache, nausea and/or dizziness, even seizures in those with a predisposition – it definitely causes distress.

The noise is a real problem as well. When there is a high-level wind blowing and the pond has little or no wind at the lower levels, the noise is quite irritating – even inside the cottage. This is a common occurrence, as the pond is situated in a mountain bowl. The sound is the same as a jet flying overhead, consistently present. The star-filled night sky is now interrupted with constantly blinking red tower lights. Patriot was asked to consider night lighting that came on only when planes were in the vicinity, which is an available technology. They refused to do so, based on cost. The town did not press the issue.

Most arguments pro and con are subjective. I would like to provide very objective data for your consideration. We began Androscoggin Home Rentals in 1996 as a vacation rental business. The camp became one of our rental properties for summer vacations. We have consistently rented the cabin between 7 and 10 weeks each summer/fall. The remote area, no electricity, serene, private location and great mountain views were our advertising promotional points. Even with a bad economy for the past several years, we have done very well with summer rentals. This past summer, however, with the presence of the towers, was quite a different scenario. The loss of business at our rental property was dramatic. Our revenue at the camp was off by 60 percent over the income from 2011. It was off by 50 percent the two years prior to that. The rest of our rentals all did better last summer, so the economy was not the factor. Our advertising was not to blame as we took the positive spin and ended our description of the property by saying “Experience a true off the grid experience with a twist. Our southwest views are of a modern wind farm supplying green energy to the rest of New England.” This loss of income is not a subjective finding. There are hard facts to support this business loss. As property owners, we are not the only one saying, “Not in my backyard.” So are the vacationers, who many of us depend upon for our livelihood.

We strongly urge residents to approve a wind ordinance before further damage is done.

Scott Gould

Androscoggin Home Rentals


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