As rural hills and mountain tops in Maine are rapidly developed by the wind industry, we must give thought to the impacts these projects have on Maine’s tourism industry and local property values.
Below is an excerpt from a letter submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection which is available on the DEP website and was written by Rainer and Gaby Engle of Switzerland, who bought their “American dream get-away” in Lincoln a few years ago.
The DEP is considering granting a permit to First Wind build an industrial wind facility on mountain ridges overlooking the Downeast Lakes region. The Engles know first-hand what kind of impact the Rollins wind project has had on the value of lakefront property in the nearby Lincoln Lakes region.
I know the Engles personally and know their well-kept, attractive cabin is just 3 feet from the water’s edge at Upper Pond, and the property has 550 feet of shore-frontage. Once the Rollins project was built, the owners faced 21 turbines – the sounds and sights of which dominated their lakeside experience. They lost their enjoyment in the property and listed their property for sale.
The Engles state in their letter, “We try to sell our camp since almost two years now: but no one is inquiring, since no one wants to see industry. One comes to Maine for nature and recreation. Getting away…”
What happens when a high-impact industrial facility creates, in essence, a “taking” of our property values – for some, our only investment? “Quality of place” is a big selling point in Maine. What happens when the quality of place disappears?
Karen Bessey Pease
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