DERBY – Derby Selectman Karen Jenne would like official public hearings held in Derby regarding the proposed 425-foot turbines for the rolling hills of Derby Line near Holland. Grand View Farm and the Smugglers Hill Farm want to host the industrial sized turbines and earn a payment in return. Derby turbines were an agenda item for Monday's select board meeting last week.
The suggestion was made by Jenne as the developers are seeking a positive recommendation from the town to present to the public Service Board (PSB). Developer Encore Redevelopment, has provided an official 45-day notice for town approval prior to submitting an application to the PSB for a Certificate of Public Good. Select board member Laura Dolgin said that she did not want to go through similar heated conversations that took place regarding Vermont Electric Company’s (VELCO) proposal for cell towers.
VELCO sought a positive recommendation from the town for a telecommunications tower and no official public hearings were ever held on the issue, leading to outrage among some community members. There were, however, a number of heated and lengthy conversations that took place during regularly scheduled select board meetings between concerned citizens and Derby officials from both the select board and the planning commission.
Select board Chairman Brian Smith noted that public meetings have already taken place in Derby Line. During those meeting, the developers talked about what they want to do.
Dolgin pointed out the the town does not have jurisdiction over the project.
The developers are going through a state statute that allows applicants to bypass local permits and apply directly to the PSB. However, any developments are still supposed to meet the Town Plan and Bylaw.
Jenne said that she has many unanswered questions about the project and how it will affect the town.
Jenne said she is hearing from a number of concerned neighbors.
Among the questions that remain unanswered is what Derby will be paid for a tax payment. The developers have promised to negotiate, but it has not happened yet. Developers also said that payments would be negotiated to those in the view shed, which is a 10-mile radius of the project and includes an area north of the Canadian-U.S. border. The proposal would be similar to the Good Neighbor Fund Green Mountain Power proposed for those towns near the Lowell Wind site, the developers said.
Town Lister Sue Best was at the meeting Monday evening and she said there is somewhat of a dilemma on how to determine the tax payment on wind turbines. She said the listers would look into.
Jenne also brought up concerns over water lines on the proposed site and how they would be affected during the construction.
Smith and Dolgin both suggested that Jenne work on getting her questions answered and report back to the board.
Jenne said in a later interview that she is working on arranging official meetings in Derby regarding the proposed project.