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Town Treasurer thinks turbines lower property values, worried about possible lawsuits

It was only recently when Kingston’s bond rating from Standard & Poor’s raised to its highest level in decades, but the town’s wind-turbine controversy is already creating uncertainty as to Kingston’s financial future among local officials.

That concern, as well as a belief that turbine’s will lower nearby property values, came to light when the Journal interviewed Town Treasurer Ken Stevens relating to Kingston’s new double-A credit rating.

“I’d expect that [turbines] would lower property value,” Stevens said when asked what type of financial impact he believed flicker has on a home within the reach of a turbine’s shadow.

Back on February 17, Kingston-turbine owner Mary O’Donnell told the Journal wind turbines can increase property value and cited California as an example. “You know, in California people pay extra to live near the turbines and have a view of them,” O’Donnell previously told KJ.com.

Stevens further said he thinks about what type of financial impact a lawsuit could have on Kingston if the town is sued for losses relating to the siting of the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) Turbine by residents.

“I think a lawsuit could hurt the town financially, sure,” Stevens said on Wednesday afternoon in his office. “But it’s something that is beyond our control.”

Stevens said he was “sympathetic” to the residents complaining of nuisance and ill-health effects from the KWI Turbine’s shadow flicker and residual noise. “But, somehow the scientific aspect of the process eluded them,” Stevens said when referencing the siting process of the turbine.

The KWI Turbine was approved for construction by the Kingston Planning Board in 2011 without a site-specific study pertaining to noise and flicker.

Since the KWI Turbine’s construction last year, residents on Leland Road, Prospect Street and Schofield Road have logged complaints about shadow flicker with state and local officials.