HOLLAND – The Holland Planning Commission and about 100 people, including some close neighbors, are seeking status to challenge a proposed wind measurement tower for the Dairy Air Wind project on School Road.
One neighbor complains that the developer of the Dairy Air Wind project is already under investigation for past practices in other wind projects and shouldn’t be allowed to go forward in Holland until those are resolved.
Dairy Air Wind, a company owned by renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf, has applied for a certificate of public good with the Vermont Public Service Board for a meteorological “met” tower.
Dairy Air Wind has also given its required 45-day notice that it will apply as soon as December for a certificate for one industrial wind turbine on Dairy Air Farm. The turbine would be 499 feet tall from base to tip of the blade.
The planning commission and neighbors Hollis and Angela Thresher filed according to the rules for intervenor status.
The planning commission wants to comply with Act 174, which would give the town status to have a say over siting of wind turbines, by developing a map of renewable energy resources in the town, according to a letter from commission chairman Andrew Bouchard.
However, Bouchard wrote that the town is an economically depressed area and the cost to do the work is prohibitive.
The planning commission asked that the developer share his information from the met tower to help the planning commission to comply with the law.
The planning commission is still wading through the work needed to redo the town plan but wants to participate in the met tower siting process anyway.
The Threshers point out that Blittersdorf is already under investigation for not applying for a certificate of public good for a met tower he has on property in Irasburg where he also wants to put up two industrial wind turbines.
They also complain that Blittersdorf has not removed a met tower from the Georgia Mountain range even though it was put up in 2006 and was to come down five years later.
The Threshers say that these other issues should be resolved first before a new met tower is allowed in Holland.
If these issues don’t disqualify the met tower application, the Threshers say that the met tower shouldn’t be allowed because it would be shocking and offensive, sticking out like “a sore thumb.”
The PSB also received letters from three other groups which applied for intervenor status but did not send copies as required to the applicant or statutory parties.
Bang-Jensen asked for comment on these three letters and reminded all who want to participate that they have to send copies of everything to all the parties.
The others who requested intervenor status include Shawn Bickford, who says he is the closest property owner to the proposed met tower site.
He decries the impact of the proposed wind turbine on hunting, the views, bird migrations and other issues.
Bickford said he is opposed to the lights he will see from the 1840s farm house he lives in.
And the met tower will also be visible from his property because they cut trees to make way for the met tower, Bickford said.
Bickford said he is not against wind projects that are thoughtfully done. He chided the state for lack of oversight on these projects.
A group calling itself Citizens for Responsible Energy in Holland (CREH) is seeking intervenor status with the board to challenge the met tower. The group has included a list of nearly 100 people who have signed up to oppose the wind turbine and the met tower.
Sixty of those in this group are residents or property owners in the town of Holland, according to the intervenor letter written by CREH President John Wagner. Two are abutting land owners, Paula Markwell and Damian Deskins.
“We believe the construction of a 196.6-foot met tower will indicate to prospective homebuyers that an industrial wind tower is under consideration at the location of the met tower (which is in fact the case) and will immediately have an adverse impact on the aesthetics and property values in the town of Holland and surrounding towns …” Wagner wrote.
“Holland has no industry and is a rural, scenic farming community. The proposed met tower will be out of character with the town,” he added.
Wagner also stated that the members of CREH won’t be served by other parties and should receive intervenor status.
Michael and Rhonda Percy, who farm on property adjacent to Dairy Air Farm, respect landowner rights but consider their land their retirement nest egg. They are concerned that its value will decline because of the proposed met tower.
“Holland Pond is a beautiful tourism destination bringing bikers, campers, kayakers to our area. Certainly these people are coming to the area not only to enjoy these activities, but also to enjoy the scenery that is unique to Holland.
“If we allow the met tower we will open our area to more development, slowly losing the very scenery visitors come for,” the Percys said.
They asked the PSB to visit the area “to fully understand the rural nature and character of the area.”
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