Seeking a more accurate idea of property devaluation we could expect from Savoy’s wind turbines, I contacted a North County appraiser. He told me that when turbines were built in Florida and Monroe every house in the area went on the market.
“How much depreciation did they suffer?” I inquired.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“Oh, I have an idea,” he said, “professional appraisals are based on comparative sales, and since the turbines were built, no houses have sold. Oh, a few were let go at a fraction of their value, but you can’t derive comps from short sales.”
“I’ll tell you what you can expect in Savoy,” he said, “If you get a job offer in another state or, God forbid, one of your kids becomes ill and needs your help caring for their children, you may not find a buyer. Your house will suffer from `external obsolescence’ (factors external to the property itself). Wind turbines will definitely have an effect on the marketability of your house.”
Those who want the turbines believe there will be greater benefits for the town. Here’s what I know: Selectmen cannot state the amount the town will receive, as the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) discussions have not yet settled on a number. It’s been reported that payments offered nine years ago are now off the table. Minuteman wants to enlarge the turbines to increase its profits and will not commit to a payment agreement until after the vote. The unknown benefits to the town could be offset by diminished property values, reduced state aid, and the added cost of the electricity passed on to consumers.
The pros and cons for larger blades are also an unknown. Past experience evidenced at other sites indicate a potential for more noise and more serious health concerns. Minuteman needs to specify the exact make and model, as without technical specifications, it is impossible to predict noise levels at neighboring homes. Those with first-hand knowledge in Florida and Monroe can provide direct, witnessed “eye and ear” evidence, as can people living in Falmouth, Fairhaven, Scituate, and Kingston.
There is an unspoken moratorium for permitting new on-shore wind turbines because there is not enough separation distance to homes. Ironically, towns with the greatest wind potential in the state have no plans for new on-shore wind turbines. Savoy must not vote to enlarge these turbines.
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