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Praise for commission’s wind stance

My wife and I greatly appreciate the commissioners for their efforts regarding the July 6 meeting to revise the Chowan County wind ordinance, which arms the entire county with a better negotiating stance while protecting non-participating citizens.

The real benefit to the county is tax payments.

Commissioners are surprised this discussion hasn’t already occurred. Utility customers will still pay Apex taxes and Timbermill’s estimated $219 million construction costs with $10 million to Chowan’s good.

So, Timbermill approval is untouched, and we could be left with obstructed views and harmful infrasound broadcasts, surrounded by at least three proposed turbines between .66 and .86 of a mile from our home, even though setbacks should be a recommended minimum 1,500 meters (4,921 feet, not our new 3,900 feet) adopted by many communities.

To be fair to non-participating property owners there should be a provision in the ordinance for property value loss compensation, if an owner sells below the property’s tax appraisal.

FYI: untested infrasound has an 18 mile broadcast diameter, and many in town will also be more or less affected by infrasound noise.

As opponents during the initial CUP hearing, we were excluded from opposition during the second Timbermill hearing regarding a monitoring station and transmission infrastructure. (This may be something the NC Utilities Commission considers if they evaluate Apex’s application for utility approval.)

The Chowan Wind Ordinance doesn’t explain reopening a CUP hearing once it concludes, even though commissioners did this for Apex, once the Perquimans’ half of Timbermill was abandoned.

On the other hand, when my wife and I requested reopening the hearing to present new sound and noise data our request was refused. A straightforward approach to reopen a concluded CUP hearing should be considered.

Accordingly, as electric utilities are forced to accommodate Green Energy, utility costs impact multiple NC counties, which suggest developer CUP hearings within all affected counties/towns burdened with higher rates to come.

Nevertheless, even with two CUP hearings, Chowan County could get stuck with millions in decommissioning costs hauling turbines to some fiberglass graveyard somewhere. (To my knowledge the County Attorney did not give her promised decommissioning analysis to commissioners.)

Because an “Environmental Assessment” was an area of contention during the first Timbermill hearing, Chowan County Commissioners still need to evaluate Wind Energy Projects with state or federal environmental assessments prior to any developer applying for a CUP permit.

This will prevent a bait and switch approach to turbine size, megawatt and noise output, number of turbines, location or infrastructure situation, all of which Apex leans toward from their public comments.

Turbine setbacks are now measured from property lines rather than occupied dwellings, (upped to 6.5 times turbine height approved during this meeting; a positive change!) The 55dB noise limit is now 45dB.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has set the European target limit of outdoor night noise levels to 40 decibels (dB) in its new guidelines. (I suppose European children are more sensitive or authorities want to protect them to a greater degree.) No shadow flicker on non-participating property areas is very good!

Good job commissioners!

Patrick Flynn is a business man and resident of Chowan County.