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Irasburg wind mill to shut down for summer

IRASBURG – Wind developer David Blittersdorf will shut down one of the two small wind mills on his Kidder Hill property this summer.

The decision to lower the turbine is part of an agreement with neighbor Robert Garthwaite and others involved in the ongoing investigation into whether the two wind mills are located where Blittersdorf said they would be.

The Vermont Public Service Board began the probe last year when Garthwaite complained that the wind mill in question is too close to his cabin near his property line. He said Blittersdorf violated his certificate of public good.

Blittersdorf, through his attorney David Mullett, voluntarily agreed to lower the turbine for the summer if all the parties agreed to extend the time allowed for collecting testimony and evidence in the case and not use the action against him.

A hearing office with the Vermont Public Service Board issued an order Tuesday requiring the lowering of the turbine within five days. Hearing officer John Cotter stated that the turbine will remain “inoperative” until Sept. 5 or whenever the case allows.

“The act of lowering the turbine is being done by agreement of the parties and shall not have any factual or legal significance in this proceeding,” Cotter wrote.

The property is where Blittersdorf also wants to erect two industrial- sized wind turbines, either on the Irasburg side or the Lowell side of the mountainous terrain.

The unusual move to lower the operational part of the wind mill came after Blittersdorf’s attorneys asked for “an enormous amount of time” to collect information in this case, said Garthwaite’s attorney, L. Brooke Dingledine.

Her client’s primary complaint is about the noise being made by the wind mill closest to his cabin in the woods, Dingledine said Tuesday.

“Summer is upon us” and Garthwaite would have to listen to the wind mill all summer, Dingledine said.

She told Blittersdorf’s attorneys that he could have more time but the Garthwaites wanted something in return.

“That’s OK if you take down the turbine or turn it off,” she said she told them. “The Garthwaites should not have to suffer through the summer.”

Mullett, in a letter May 31 to the hearing officer and all parties, made it clear that Blittersdorf should not be punished in any way for doing this: “Nothing in his provision shall be deemed an admission of any certificate of public good violation or other liability on the part of Mr. Blittersdorf …” Dingledine agreed, calling the shut down “temporary relief” that would cause no prejudice or precedent in the case or affect the outcome.

The hearing officer in his order set a deadline of Sept. 1 to finish depositions, after which the parties would make further suggestions about the rest of the schedule in the investigation.

Dingledine said that she believed Blittersdorf wants to resolve this investigation into the placement of his two small wind turbines before petitioning the PSB for the two industrial-sized wind turbines. He filed a 45-day notice of his intention to seek a certificate but has not moved beyond that.

He already has a wind project in the hearing process before the PSB. He filed a petition to put up a single 499-foot wind turbine on Dairy Air Farm in Holland.

A site visit on School Road is at 2 p.m. Monday, followed by an informational meeting at 6 p.m. at the school and a 7 p.m. public hearing on the project.