Survey for Barre wind project so far shows half respondents support Heritage Wind

Photo by Tom Rivers: Kirk Mathes, a Barre landowner, says he supports the Heritage Wind project in Barre. He also said it’s a property rights issue. He spoke during a meeting Wednesday in the Barre highway garage.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 July 2018 at 8:31 am

BARRE – Recent town meetings have included many outspoken critics of a proposed wind energy project in the Town of Barre.

Residents have shared their concerns that up to 47 wind turbines will cause property values to plummet, while endangering wildlife, damaging town roads, blighting the landscape and causing other negative impacts.

But there is support for the project. The town is doing a survey of residents and property owners and the 120 responses so far show about half of the respondents support the project proposed by Apex Clean Energy.

LaBella Associates put together the survey and is compiling the results. The deadline for completing the survey is July 27. Besides residents and landowners, people who live close to Barre in neighboring towns can also weigh in on the issue. Click here to be directed to the survey.

LaBella has been hired by Barre to help the town identify concerns from residents in the Apex project. Kathy Spencer, principal environmental analyst with LaBella Associates, said LaBella will raise those concerns to the developer and state during the application process. She shared during a meeting Wednesday that about half of the respondents so far are in favor of the project.

LaBella also is analyzing the Apex preliminary scoping statement and will dissect an impending application if Apex proceeds to the next stage.

Some of the questions on the survey include:

• What is your attitude towards the Heritage Wind project in Barre? – supportive, neutral, opposed or needs more information.

• Identify locally valuable resources that may be impacted while constructing or operating wind turbines. Please be specific by including location, name (if applicable) and reason(s).

• Which of the following concerns could be significant in the Town of Barre and require a careful evaluation of potential local impacts?

• This question asks to rank the level of the importance – minimal concern, less important, top priority or no opinion/don’t know – for the following: noise from wind turbines, change in rural character, change in views from height of turbines, shadow flicker, loss of agricultural resources or farming inconvenience, negative impact on property value, roadway deterioration, setbacks from property lines and buildings, possibility of health effects due to living near turbines, public safety (due to fire, blade/ice throw, tower collapse, etc.), wildlife impacts (loss of bird and bats, etc.), impacts to TV, cell phone or radio reception, complaint procedure – how the developer will respond and resolve issues, decommissioning and the eventual removal of turbines, and other (please specify).

• The last question asks the respondents to share any additional comments.

Robin Nacca, a Barre resident, has established Know Your Facts USA, seeking to provide truthful data about wind turbines.

She said her group is working to establish its own survey. She welcomed residents to send her potential questions on the survey.

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