September 13, 2016
New Hampshire

Antrim: Property owners seek AWE buyout

By ASHLEY SAARI | Monadnock Ledger-Transcript | Monday, September 12, 2016 |

As the Site Evaluation Committee commences hearings on the Antrim Wind project, some potentially affected residents are asking for a buyout of their properties if the project is approved.

“We live here for the peace and quiet,” said Annie Law of Antrim. “None of us want to deal with the turbines, deal with the noise, deal with the flicker. None of us want to live next to a wind farm.”

The Antrim Wind project has been in the works for more than seven years, as developers seek to erect a wind farm on Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain. The project has already been through the state siting approval once, and failed to gain approval on grounds of aesthetic impact. Since then, the developer has revised the project, eliminating one of the ten towers, shortening another, and adding additional mitigations, before re-submitting the project.

The SEC will be hearing evidence and deliberating on the project in the coming weeks, and a decision is expected by the end of the month.

Law said that the residents of Antrim’s north branch – those most directly impacted by the farm, aren’t soothed by Antrim Wind Energy’s stance that wind farms don’t directly impact a home’s property value. A group of about a dozen residents planned to attend Monday night’s Select Board meeting to ask that the board demand Antrim Wind Energy to pay the full appraised price for their homes and properties.

The residents request that the agreement be part of the operating agreement contract between AWE and the town and specify that the buyout of any abutters and landowners near the proposed facility happen within two years of the completion of the wind farm.

When contacted Monday, prior to the Select Board meeting, Select Board Chair John Robertson said that the timing of the request meant that there is nothing that the Select Board could do about it, even if they were so inclined.

Any requirements regarding ensuring property values or compensation if a homeowner can prove that their property value is harmed by the wind farm would have to be set by the SEC, said Robertson. And all testimony regarding the wind farm was required by the SEC’s rules to have been submitted by mid-August.

“That time period is past, and now they’re coming along and asking for something,” said Robertson. “So I think that we can listen to their concerns, but ultimately, this is in the SEC’s hands now.”

Law contested that the Board of Selectmen, which have been supportive of the wind farm project since its inception, has not done enough to protect citizens.

“As taxpayers, we’re asking the Board of Selectmen, who are supposed to be here for the citizens of the town, to do the right thing. They should be fighting for us, and not agreeing with a developer who’s going to destroy our lives,” said Law.

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