DERBY - The Derby Select Board appointed a committee Monday evening to gather information on what the town wants and to articulate its concerns regarding the proposed Derby Line Wind project. The committee would give the information to the town’s attorney, Richard Saudek, who is working on drafting a contract between the town and the developer.
David LaBelle stated his concern that a committee was being appointed without the matter being on the agenda.
During the meeting, several people, including Dick Fletcher of Derby Line, pressed the select board to appoint a committee that could address town concerns and provide information to the attorney. Fletcher said a committee could work on the “elements” of the contract. Several noted that the attorney’s job was not to figure out what the town needs. Select board chairman Brian Smith and others noted that Saudek has experience in such contracts.
Derby Zoning Administrator Bob Kelley was appointed as the liaison between Saudak, the select board, and the committee.
Derby Select Board member Karen Jenne, Keith Gray, Dan Ducharme, and Vicki Lewis were appointed to the committee. The select board also wants a town lister on the committee. Select board member Laura Dolgin pointed out that Jenne would be serving on the committee as an individual, not as a member of the select board.
Glenda Nye - who recently moved to Derby, has become active in the town and has volunteered to be on the committee - noted her long experience with municipal government and work as an appraiser. She has lived in Vermont for over 40 years.
Select board member Beula Jean Shattuck said Nye should not be on the board because she hasn’t lived in the town for very long. This upset Nye who feels passionately about the wind project.
The Town of Derby, the Village of Derby Center, the Village of Derby Line, and the Town of Holland were granted intervener status in the Public Service Board (PSB) proceedings for the project. The project entails the construction of two wind turbines, which are approximately 430 feet tall, on two farms in Derby Line.
The meeting drew a large turnout with more than 30 residents. Several people expressed concerns over the proposed project pointing out its close proximity to homes. Many wanted reassurance about potential health effects to people and animals, and many expressed concerns over impacts of property values.
Local farmer Keith Gray said he is concerned over the fast pace of the project and hopes the process can be slowed down until all concerns are addressed. He said he has received calls from more than 30 people who have questions about the project. Gray is neither for nor against the project, but he hopes all concerns can be addressed, and then all could possibly support it, he said.
The project is fast tracked as developers are hoping to secure financial incentives, including federal production tax credits.
Chad Farrell, representing the developer, Encore Redevelopment of Burlington, was present but was not permitted to say much. He said he is trying to get answers quickly but that it costs money to hire people to find those answers. A second sound study is underway, Farrell explained briefly, but was interrupted. Some residents did not seem to want to hear what he had to say.
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(Map of current and pending wind project sites on page 14.)