IRASBURG – A violation investigation into the siting of two small windmills on Kidder Hill is officially closed, with property owner David Blittersdorf agreeing to pay $10,000 to the state without admitting any violation.
Blittersdorf has already taken down the two wind mills.
The neighbor who brought the complaint, Robert Garthwaite, and other parties agreed with the payment and conclusion of the case.
Garthwaite complained in 2016 that Blittersdorf did not erect his two windmills in the locations described in his certificate of public good. He said one was too close to his cabin on his property.
Garthwaite asked the state to sanction Blittersdorf by withdrawing the certificate of public good for the windmills, forcing him to take the windmills down.
Blittersdorf opposed the complaint and the state regulators on what’s now called the Public Utilities Commission opened the investigation.
After a site visit and filing of evidence, the investigation continued. The Vermont Department of Public Service recommending that the commission impose a penalty of $20,000 or alternatively impose a lesser penalty and revoke the CPG, according to John Cotter, hearing officer for the commission.
Then Blittersdorf voluntarily relinquished the CPG without admitting any violation and took the windmills down last year.
Since then, all parties have stipulated to an agreement that the windmills were removed and the CPG withdrawn, that Blittersdorf will pay $10,000 to the state, and that it does not constitute an admission of a violation.
The hearing officer accepted the stipulation “as a full and reasonable resolution of all the issues raised in Mr. Garthwaite’s complaint,” differing only in that the check should be paid to the commission and then forwarded to the state general fund.
The commission accepted the hearing officer’s recommendation in an order April 11.
“We are pleased with this resolution to the dispute between David Blittersdorf and his neighbor,” said Nick Charyk, communications and public affairs manager for Blittersdorf’s company, AllEarth Renewables.
“We continue to maintain that the terms of his CPG were never violated. However, the point has been moot for some time, since the wind turbines were voluntarily removed in October of 2017.
“The two net-metered wind turbines were originally intended to power David’s cabin on Kidder Hill. Ultimately, solar trackers have proven to be a better power option for the cabin.
“The settlement reflects David’s good faith effort to resolve this dispute in a manner acceptable to all parties involved,” Charyk concluded.
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