HOLLAND – The Dairy Air Wind developer says an expert for opponents has misrepresented his qualifications to offer evidence about visual and development impacts.
Dairy Air Wind is seeking to raise a single 499-foot-tall wind turbine on Dairy Air Farm on School Road.
The town filed a motion for summary judgment with state regulators last month, asking the Vermont Public Utilities Commission to throw out the petition for a certificate of public good for the project based on undisputed evidence.
In response, Dairy Air Wind says that evidence from Michael Lawrence on behalf of the town of Holland on aesthetics and its impact on orderly development should be scrutinized and possibly excluded.
The developer suggested that Lawrence could be disqualified as a witness and could face sanctions.
Nick Charyk, spokesman for Dairy Air Wind, said this week that Lawrence’s analysis was presented as testimony from an expert “based on false qualifications.”
The developer also says that much evidence in the case is still being scrutinized.
At the very least, the developer has asked for more time to respond to the motion for summary judgment.
Thomas Knauer, hearing officer for the commission, granted the developer and other parties until May 2 to respond to the motion for summary judgment.
Dairy Air Wind’s attorney Leslie Cadwell argued that Lawrence claims membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).
However, “Lawrence’s sworn representations of his membership in the ASLA were false when they were made in this case and others,” Cadwell wrote to the commission.
She said Lawrence has not been a member of the ASLA for six years. She provided a statement from a representative of the ASLA, who wrote on March 26 in an email that Lawrence is not an active member. His membership lapsed on Aug. 31, 2012.
Charyk said Lawrence has been used as an expert in other cases.
“This is a serious issue,” Charyk said.
“It’s very hard to argue that this is a mistake.”
It’s hard to “feel confident” about testimony from someone who has misrepresented himself on his resume, Charyk said.
Charyk said Dairy Air Wind is waiting to see how the town of Holland will respond to this.
It’s getting late in the process, leading up to technical hearings, for the town to ask for permission and time to get another expert who would then do an analysis of the impacts of a wind turbine on Holland. And then that analysis would require responses, delaying the whole project.
One of the issues that the town listed in the motion for summary judgment is unrelated to the aesthetic and orderly development impacts. The town pointed to the close proximity of the turbine’s proposed site within 300 feet of public School Road.
A second site visit will be held on School Road at Dairy Air Farm on Monday, April 30 at 11 a.m.
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