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Pittsford tables decision on Grandpa’s Knob project  

Credit:  By Keith Whitcomb Jr., Staff Writer | Rutland Herald | Dec 6, 2021 | www.rutlandherald.com ~~

PITTSFORD – While no one on the Select Board appears to be in favor of the wind project proposed for Grandpa’s Knob in Castleton, the board is split over when it should express its disapproval.

At the Dec. 1 board meeting, a motion to send a letter in opposition to the project was defeated 2-3. A motion to then table the matter until Jan. 19 when the developer can give another presentation passed 4-1.

The Grandpa’s Knob Community Wind Project is a proposal from wind developer David Blittersdorf for a single, 1.5 megawatt, 275-foot tall wind turbine with a 143-foot blade sweep to be built on Grandpa’s Knob in Castleton. Half the annual net profits would be distributed equitably between the towns impacted by its presence.

Blittersdorf has said this is less of a profit-making venture and more of a tribute to a wind turbine built there in 1941, the first of its kind to be hooked to an electric grid.

The project has drawn opposition from residents and town governments in the area who say it goes against their town and regional plans. The developers say they’re at least a year away from filing for a permit and plan to release more information through a website and public presentations.

Pittsford Town Manager John Haverstock told the board Dec. 1 that it has received a letter from the town of Hubbardton asking to join it in opposition to the project.

According to the letter, dated Nov. 5 and signed by all five members of the Hubbardton Select Board, the project goes against the Hubbardton Town Plan and would impact the Hubbardton Battlefield, a Revolutionary War historic site.

It’s believed the project would be most visible from Castleton and Hubbardton, with parts of it seen in Pittsford, West Rutland and possibly Rutland Town. It was once thought it would be seen from Proctor, but it’s now thought that town will see little, if any, of it.

“I don’t know how much more we want to have discussion on this,” said Select Board Chairwoman Alicia Malay, who made the motion to oppose the project.

Sam Carlson, speaking on behalf of Grandpa’s Knob Community Wind Project and Blittersdorf, attended a board meeting in early October, as did several locals opposed to the project. Carlson and Blittersdorf outlined what they believe are the benefits of the turbine, then heard from several locals who were adamantly opposed.

People are against this project for largely the same reasons they opposed a 20-turbine project offered in 2012 by a different developer along that same ridge line: aesthetic, environmental and tax concerns.

Malay noted that Proctor had previously opted to send a letter out stating that town opposes the project.

“While I realize the majority and certainly a lot of the town is opposed to this, certainly that’s fine, on the other hand, we haven’t given Mr. Blittersdorf and Mr. Carlson even time to really present what it is, the full facts or whatever, of this project, and personally, I think we at least owe it to them to at least present it before we strongly object,” said Selectman David Mills.

Under Vermont law, the developers would have to file a preliminary notice with the Public Utility Commission at least 45 days ahead of whenever they expect to file for a full certificate of public good, or CPG. The developers have said they’re between nine months and a year away from doing that.

“My opinion is they already made a full presentation and what they’re presenting goes against what’s in our town plans, so to even keep hearing about it and letting them have more time to convince us in some way shape or form or convince us we’re going to make all this money off of it means our town plan is worthless,” said Malay.

Town Assessor Lisa Wright claimed any funds the town might get would be largely offset by impacts to property values not made up for in taxes on the project.

Haverstock said Carlson wishes to meet with the board again Jan. 19. After the motion to table the matter until then passed, he said he would research a larger venue for the meeting, expecting it would likely draw a crowd.

Source:  By Keith Whitcomb Jr., Staff Writer | Rutland Herald | Dec 6, 2021 | www.rutlandherald.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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