Proposed Barre wind turbine ordinance doesn’t address health, property value concerns

Posted 20 September 2020 at 9:11 am


To Barre and surrounding community residents, as an elected Barre Town Board member, I believe that it is vital that you know about the proposed wind ordinance that is being proposed by our Town Board. Below are listed some, but not all, of the changes and lack of changes that impact residents’ health, safety and enjoyment of property:

• Setback distance remains as 1.5 times the tip height from any residential or commercial structure. The town law does not protect resident safety from increased noise, increased length of blades, increased turbine height and increased speed of rotation in new turbines.   Because this setback is not from the property line – like most setback requirements – it does not protect the property rights of neighboring properties.

• If a resident wants to subdivide their property or build another residential or commercial building on their property, they may not be allowed to due to the setback requirement set upon them because of this ordinance.

• This is one of the least restrictive setbacks in NY State. Many towns are establishing setbacks at a minimum of a half mile and many are adding restrictions of one mile or more from schools, churches and parks.

• The noise regulations do not meet the suggested standards of the New York State Department of Health in its letter to the Siting Board on March 2020. The noise standards do not use the most current World Health Organization standards released in 2018. The proposed town law will not protect the public from industrial turbine noise.

• There is no property value guarantee.

I proposed the following, which the rest of the Town Board chose not to include in the proposed wind ordinance changes:

• WECS Real Property Value Protection Plan: The WECS applicant shall assure the Town that there will be no loss in real property value within 2 miles of each wind turbine within their WEC units. To legally support this claim, the applicant shall consent in writing to a Real Property Value Protection Agreement as a condition of approval for the WEC unit. This agreement shall provide assurance to non-participating real property owners (i.e. those with no turbines on their property) near the WEC unit, that they have some protection from WEC-related real property values losses.

• Property value is high on the list of concerns of the residents in the Town survey, and has been brought up to the Town Board on several occasions.

• Local professionals in the real-estate business have expressed grave concerns about property value and previous residents have shared that they have moved out of the area due to the current proposed project.

• Property value has been deemed by the Siting Board to be outside the scope of Article 10, and so it is up to the Town Board to establish law to protect the property value.

• Increased maximum height 40% from 500 feet to 700 feet!

• Currently the tallest wind turbine on land in the US stands by itself and is 655 feet at the UL Advanced Wind Turbine Test Facility at West Texas A&M University.

• High Sheldon wind turbines in Wyoming County, NY are 389 feet tall.

If any or all of these issues are concerning to you, or if you have other concerns, please attend the public hearing on Sept. 30th at 6:30 p.m. in the Barre Highway Garage and express your concerns. Or write letters, emails, or make phone calls to your elected officials and share your concerns.

Kerri Richardson