HOLLAND – The Vermont Public Service Board has scheduled a site visit and public hearing next week about the proposed Dairy Air Wind Project.
The site visit is 3 p.m. Thursday March 30 at Dairy Air Farm on School Road. That will be followed by a presentation from the wind developer’s team at 6 p.m. in the Holland Elementary School gym about the single 2.2 megawatt turbine.
And then the board’s hearing officer will take public comment about the project, beginning at 7 p.m.
The developer, David Blittersdorf, wants to erect the nearly 500-foot-tall turbine on a farm field just off School Road, about a mile from the school. He petitioned for a certificate of public good for the project just before the end of the year.
The Holland Select Board, a residents’ group, some abutting landowners, Northeastern Vermont Development Association and now a Quebec town oppose the project.
Holland voters and landowners voted overwhelmingly against the idea of a large wind turbine on a Holland farm in a mail-in survey last year, 314 opposed, 59 in favor, and 44 undecided.
The hearing officer for the PSB held a pre-hearing conference March 8 on the project application in Montpelier. Hearing officer Thomas Knauer suggested that a large weather balloon could be used to mark the height and location of the proposed turbine.
But in a letter to the PSB after that conference, Blittersdorf’s attorneys said that a large balloon won’t work given the winds at this location, and even if it did, the balloon wouldn’t adequately represent the appearance of what a large wind turbine would look like up close or from a distance.
“It is quite unlikely that a balloon would stay in a single spot given the wind levels at the contemplated elevation, and the exercise is thus not likely to provide a meaningful sense of what a turbine mounted on a fixed tower will look like,” attorney David Mullett wrote.
He also noted that the Federal Aviation Administration would have to be notified and give permission for a balloon like that higher than 200 feet, and would need to have a light on it at night.
A photo-simulation of what the turbine would look like would provide a better example of the turbine as proposed, he said.
Copies of the photo simulation will be available at the site visit, he said.
Knauer encouraged those who are statutory parties in this case, like the town selectmen, NVDA, and state agencies, to work with the developer to identify other locations in Holland for a view of where the turbine would be located.
In other business, Knauer responded to concerns by townspeople and a community group that some neighbors of Dairy Air Farm do not have high speed Internet and cannot access all the documents now posted on the website.
Knauer said that the developer is not required to provide paper copies to abutters but can do so voluntarily for all abutters or for those who request paper copies.
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