A wind power proposal submitted Thursday to Vermont regulators includes an offer to buy out close neighbors who object to the turbines, according to consultants for the project.
Property owners living within 3,000 feet of the Swanton Wind project will have six months after the project goes online to take up the developers on their offer, said Martha Staskus, vice president of Vermont Environmental Research Associates.
“That’s how confident they are that this is a good project,” Staskus said of Travis and Ashley Belisle, who filed a foot-thick application to the Public Service Board that could take a year to review.
If approved, up to seven turbines, each roughly the size of those operating on Georgia Mountain, could be operational sometime in 2018, generating about enough electricity to power 7,300 average Vermont homes, Staskus added.
The property lies near Swanton’s border with St. Albans and Fairfield.
Some neighbors – including those who signed waivers years ago acknowledging that a wind farm might be installed on nearby Rocky Ridge – have vowed to stop the project or move away.
In November 2015, about 25 percent of eligible voters in Swanton cast nonbinding ballots against the 20 megawatt wind project.
The Belisles, who live beneath the ridge slated for wind development and run a maple sugaring operation on its western flanks, have said they intend to remain in their home, turbines or no turbines.
“Because we ware building this renewable energy project in our own ‘backyard,’ we are deeply invested in making sure it is done right and we are confident that our application reflects that commitment,” wrote Ashley Belisle on Thursday in a prepared statement.
At least three adjacent property owners support the wind project, Anthony Iarrapino, attorney for Swanton Wind LLC, told the Free Press.
Developers have submitted sound studies, as well as detailed plans on how water and wildlife resources would be protected during and after construction. The Public Service Board review will include public hearings.
Iarrapino said the wind array would contribute about $150,000 annually to the Town of Swanton if it is completed – an amount equivalent to the entire municipal police department budget,