Swanton wind project raises doubt; let’s not fast-track it

Saint Albans Messenger

Letter to the Editor    July 23.2015

This letter is in response to the Messenger article from Monday, July 20, 2015 regarding the Swanton Wind project. We are property owners in the development that Travis built in the past four years. Travis did throw out a lot of possible options for the land behind us, but he also told us that our development would be a peaceful family development. After watching the building of the industrial wind project in Georgia, that process was in every way the opposite of peaceful and the opposite of family friendly. 

Travis’s wife Ashley (a realtor) is telling us that T this project will have no effect on our property values but we are being told by realtors in the area that a) We have to disclose the industrial wind project to any potential buyer and b) don’t even think about being able to sell your home while this project is being proposed because it simply isn’t going to happen. Hmm, why would they tell me that if this project will have no effect on my property values? Funny, but we have never seen a real estate ad that touts ‘Seven industrial wind turbines in your front yard!’

This project will not affect just the nine homes in this development; it has an outreach much greater than that. A project of this size with turbines the size they are proposing would affect houses going out more than a mile from the turbines. All you have to do is look at any of the existing projects in Vermont and you can see the problems: Noise pollution, property values and damage to the environment. This project would tower over Fairfield Pond and affect them also.

Travis states that he felt attacked by people at the informative meeting that he scheduled (and for which we had three days notice), but all we were asking were questions that they should have anticipated. After hearing how close to homes, how big and how many turbines for this project, of course we were going to be concerned about health and noise pollution issues. They should have been prepared to answer questions like what we were asking. We provided them with our contact information at the meeting, but they have not once contacted us to provide us with any further information or educa tion.

Because we didn’t know much about it, we took it upon ourselves to drive up to Georgia Mountain and look at the project and listen to the turbines and talk to the neighbors. None are as close as what this project is projecting and yet they are affected by it in many ways. We heard the noise that the neighbors have talked about. They suffer from sleep loss due to the noise pollution on a regular basis.

So the town of Swanton would get up to $150,000 per year. But, a reduction in assessed values for the houses close to the turbines would eat into that money (it happened in Georgia).

Is it worth it to affect the health and lives of citizens of this town and surrounding towns? And, that amount is just pennies compared to the millions of dollars that would be made on this project. Why won’t these developers guarantee our property values? If the project really won’t affect the values, they shouldn’t have a problem doing this. They will babble about other reasons why property values might decline, so, tie it into a Vermont state real estate rate.

This project feels like it is trying to move on a fast-track and now is not the time to fast-track wind projects. Vermont needs to look at the problems with our existing projects and resolve those problems before putting in a new project that is even closer to existing homes.

Christine and Dustin Lang, Sarah and Ed Ferguson, Erynn and Tyrell Boudreau and Ricky Doe

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