A proposed wind farm in Clifton is, once again, dividing residents.
After a series of appeals by opponents and the developer, the State Supreme Court is now reviewing the plan.
But in the end, voters may decide the project’s fate as they cast their ballots for the sixth time.
For the last four years, there’s been a lot of talk about a wind farm that could be coming to Clifton.
Julie and Peter Beckford have spoken against it.
“There’s annoyance and there’s health. So the annoyance would be what we would hear everywhere on our land. And the health would be more related to low frequency sound which is inaudible and affects people in many different ways,” said Julie Beckford.
Last year, the Beckfords appealed the permit town leaders granted to the project, and now the issue is in the hands of the state Supreme Court-and the wind farm is on hold, for now.
“When we went to do the application itself and apply the standards, they didn’t–they weren’t sufficient to review the project,” said Clifton’s Planning Board Chair Eric Johns.
So the planning board revised their land ordinance guidelines, and if voters approve the new rules on June 10th, the wind farm could move forward.
“What will happen in this vote, if we are successful, then we will be pretty well on our way to being shovel-ready. We will still go through the Supreme Court on the other issues that the Beckfords have appealed. Once those are resolved, then we will be ready to go,” said Paul Fuller, the Pisgah Mountain Wind Farm’s developer.
“We’re concerned for our farm here, our jobs here. This is our life and we don’t want to be in our woods listening to noise that’s the equivalent of a dishwasher,’ said Peter Beckford.
But Fuller, who owns the land on Pisgah Mountain where five turbines would go, says that’s simply not accurate.
“They are not basing those statements on any kind of science or engineering, that the professional engineers in the field would claim–that’s not true. It’s just absolutely not true,” said Fuller.
Fuller says the distance of 4300 feet to the nearest residence would mitigate any noise produced.
But some residents aren’t sold, and the Beckfords and others are pushing for their own referendum to change the guidelines to a 4,000-foot setback from property lines, not houses.
That could be on the June ballot, too.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for the developer to try to use people’s property like a sound buffer. Basically that’s all it’s doing,” said Kurt Gray, who is opposed to the wind farm.
“We should have the right to do on our land what we would like to do, just like they have the right to do on their land what they want to do,” said Fuller.
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