October 24, 2019
Letters, Nebraska

Project should cause no harm to a neighbor

Aurora News-Register | 10/23/2019 | www.auroranewsregister.com

As you encouraged in a previous article about discussing the new zoning regulations, I think there’s a real need for people to understand what these regulations do for us.

While in town this past week, my wife had a conversation with an individual and this person was questioning why there’s so much concern over these wind turbines.

As my wife discussed the issue, it was evident that the negative impact of how a dissimilar structure being placed next to an existing structure was not understood.

This is one of the situations that our zoning regulations strive to avoid by placing certain structures in specifically zoned areas all the while meeting certain criteria.

In our newly approved regulations it is clearly stated that preserving the value of existing structures is a purpose for our zoning regulations.

Pg IV #10. “Protecting property against blight and depreciation”; and Pg V paragraph 1;”…to conserve the value of lands and improvements;” also, the approval criteria for a conditional use permit (which the wind turbines require) in section 5.10 #2. “That the conditional use will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purpose already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property values within the neighborhood.”

Being a contractor, I deal with permits, building regulations and building values on a daily basis. I understand the importance of the impacts one structure has upon another. These wind towers have been around for many years now and the true values and detrimental effects are becoming much more clear.

At last week’s public hearing I presented a series of documents that highlighted the detriments of wind turbines upon existing property values.

The first article published back as far as July 2012 documented the property devaluations and it was verified by the governing valuation office to the amount of 25 percent of the home values. In this same report it was mentioned that even back in 2007 the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors stated that “homes within one mile of wind farms would lose value.”

The second report from April 2013, documented a Chicago-based real estate appraiser, Michael McCann’s study of 20 wind projects in 12 states, more specifically Van Wert County, Ohio, where he discovered that “homes within the turbine’s two-to-three mile “footprint” sold for 26 percent less.”

A more recent report from Leibniz Institute for Economic Research date January 2019 documents 7 percent up to as much as 23 percent reduction in value for houses 1.25 miles from a wind turbine. This is a huge price to pay when someone wants to make a buck at their neighbor’s expense. It isn’t just the principle value but also the interest that they paid on that principle amount that they will now have to try to recover in the valuation loss.

When determining new structures to build, the first consideration should be the current structures and preserving that value. If that can be guaranteed, then the new structure can be pursued.

Some will say, but the land owner is being depraved of the ability to make use of the property. Where are his rights? To that I say, all of us have “rights” only to the extent it does not cause injury to someone else. If exercising our “rights” would cause injury, we no longer have that “right” in that instance.

The mandate is “Cause no harm to a neighbor.”

Pat Harvey,


URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2019/10/24/project-should-cause-no-harm-to-a-neighbor/