A property appraiser and prominent wind farm opponent will appear in Canton and Beresford this week the potential impact of a proposed 500-turbine wind zone in south Lincoln County.
Michael McCann of Chicago will address questions on property values at town hall meetings in Canton on Monday and Beresford on Tuesday.
Monday’s meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Canton High School, which is located at 800 N. Main Street. Tuesday’s speech will take place at 7 p.m. at The Bridges in Beresford, at 601 S. Seventh Street.
The meetings are sponsored by We-Care SD, a nonprofit group organized to counter the Dakota Power Community Wind project, which aims to produce up to 1,000 megawatts of power on a 200-mile swath of land situated around Beresford, Canton and Hudson.
The wind backers earned permits from the Lincoln County Commission last month to place five meteorological towers around the farm’s footprint.
The towers will help determine wind capacity and sell the project to potential investors. Commissioners voted to permit the towers over the objections of property owners, who regularly pack public zoning board hearings to express their concerns.
Talk of property values saturates most meetings, with opponents speaking of losses and supporters pointing to studies that show a minimal impact.
McCann’s research on property values is frequently cited by rural property owners opposed to wind development. His case studies cite property devaluations of 25 to 40 percent.
His testimony to an Adams County, Illinois board in 2010 claimed that homes in the “ground zero” area of a wind farm become “completely unmarketable.”
The Chicago-area appraiser’s work has been criticized by clean energy boosters as biased and unscientific. Dakota Power Community Wind’s board of directors frequently cite a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab study of 122,000 home sales near existing wind farms in Massachusetts that showed no proof of property value impact.
That study found that the announcement of a wind farm has an impact on property values in some cases, but that post-construction prices held steady.
Both McCann’s talks are free and open to the public.