HOLLAND – Selectmen will hire an attorney to help them fight a proposed industrial-sized wind turbine on Dairy Air Farm.
The select board took the action last week in reaction to the news that Diary Air Wind, financed by renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf, had filed a formal 45-day notice of intent to apply for a certificate of public good from state utility regulators.
The select board has already voted to oppose the project. The board decided to get an attorney the same night that they learned that Diary Air Wind would apply for a certificate next month for a 2.2-megawatt single wind turbine nearly 500 feet tall.
The turbine is slated for a farm field off School Road, more than a mile from Holland’s elementary school and more than that from the U.S.-Canadian border. Blittersdorf wants to have the turbine site under construction by the end of next year.
The select board also learned last week that taxpayers and voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the wind project by nearly a 4 to 1 margin, according to a mail-in survey sent out by the town clerk on behalf of the select board.
The results were 314 in favor to 59 opposed. And 44 respondents were undecided.
While the survey was unofficial and not binding on the project’s developers or the selectmen, locals have hoped that the developer would see it as a sign not to develop the project.
The survey ballots were opened and tallied Nov. 7, the night before the general election when two other Vermont communities voted at the polls to oppose the idea of a wind project.
In Windham and Grafton in southern Vermont, voters resoundingly rejected 24 wind turbines proposed by Spanish company Iberdrola. Iberdrola had promised to bow to the wishes of the community.
Blittersdorf has made no such offer to Holland. He is also considering two industrial-sized wind turbines for Kidder Hill in Irasburg, where he has property.
Residents opposed to Dairy Air Wind asked the Holland Select Board to push faster to update the town plan, which has been under revisions, according to the minutes of the meeting. State guidelines indicate that towns which have the proper planning for siting energy projects can have a say in siting before the Vermont Public Service Board.
But the adoption of a new town plan cannot be rushed, with warning periods required before public hearings at the planning commission level and again at the select board level.
It’s likely now with the clock already ticking on the 45-day notice for Dairy Air Wind that Holland doesn’t have enough time to put a revised energy plan in place in time to influence the Public Service Board.