DERBY - The developer of the Derby wind project provided an update Monday at the Derby Select Board’s regular meeting. Chad Farrell, of Encore Redevelopment of Burlington, was on hand to provide the information and answer questions and concerns. Farrell said he wanted to make the community comfortable with the project.
Steve Wright, Chief Operating Officer of Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC), also attended the meeting. He said that although VEC is not a partner in the project, the co-op supports local power generating projects. He also invited anyone interested in learning more about the Act 248 state approval process to call VEC for more information.
Encore has sought a Certificate of Public Good for two wind turbines to be located on two farms just east of the Village of Derby Line. The turbines would be more than 400 feet tall at the tip of the blades.
Farrell assured the group at the meeting that concerns will be addressed in the Act 248 process. He also said that the tax payment for the town is not yet known, but Encore is working with the Vermont Department of Taxes and the Derby listers to find the right payment amount.
Derby Select Board member Karen Jenne asked about insurance coverage. Farrell said that his company would cover any problems, but Jenne said she thinks the town and village could be held liable in the event something happened with the turbines. Farrell asked for more information on the insurance Jenne referenced.
Holland planner Mitch Wonson noted that the Holland Select Board asked him to represent the town. The primary concerns, according to Wonson, are health and property values. He said that approximately 90 percent of Holland residents will have a view of the turbines, and he said he believes the turbines will have an adverse aesthetic impact.
Wonson pointed to a recent study indicating adverse health effects from living in the vicinity of two large turbines, and reports on property values being affected.
Wonson said that it is not known for sure if the turbines would create negative impacts, but he is not convinced they won’t.
He also said that the noise created by the turbines would affect quality of life. He pointed out the audible and inaudible noise that could affect people as well as animals, especially horses and cows.
A neighbor of the Chase Farm, where a turbine would be located, is concerned because she has Meniere disease and boards horses on her property as her livelihood. Noise from turbines could make her symptoms worse, she said in a recent interview.
Susan Taylor attended the selectman’s meeting and said she also suffers from Meniere disease. She said if a turbine was going to be located across from her home, she would be forced to move due to the health effects.
Wonson also noted concerns over a water line that feeds two water hydrants in Holland, and wondered if the project would affect the line.
Farrell cited a study that found no correlation between turbines and property values. Farrell also said that there will be a monitoring plan in place for noise in the summer and the winter and that the developers have the “utmost concern for public safety.”
Farrell noted that the view of the turbines is not considered an undue adverse impact.
Derby Line Trustee Keith Beadle attended the meeting and said that society is addicted to energy and pointed out that the sources are mainly from fossil fuels. “We have to try to do things differently,” Beadle said.