Saint Albans Messenger; August 20, 2015
Dear Mr. Recchia: I read with some interest the recent article in the St. Albans Messenger about the proposed wind project in Swanton and the effects on property values. I was particularly surprised to see some quotes by you regarding your intentions to help people who are adversely affected:
“Most people will be unaffected except for some annoyance from the project,” Recchia said. “Some individuals will feel that they are impacted medically or emotionally or economically, and we should do whatever we can to help those people.”
“If a homeowner feels that they are adversely affected, we will work with them to find some solution.”
We have clearly been adversely affected and have made you and others at the DPS and PSB well aware of that fact. We have filed complaints about the noise with Martha Staskus with Georgia Mountain Wind, Susan Paruch and you at the DPS, filings with the PSB and have testified at the noise investigation hearings. Our complaints have mostly been ignored except that we have been told that the project is in compliance.
As you know from the article our home value dropped 12% because of the noise from the project. This was after members of the BCA from the Town of Georgia came to our home several times and listened to the noise. The assessment specifically states that our home value is reduced due to the noise from the project. We are often forced to run window fans at night to drown out the airplane noise of the turbines so that we can sleep in the summer. Forget sleeping some nights in the winter – the winds are then predominately out of the north and the noise is a deep constant rumbling that nothing will drown out. This is beyond a nuisance; it’s forced us to alter our lives in order to be able to live next to this project. We run fans, close our windows and take naps when the turbines aren’t running or are quiet.
I spent a fair amount of time with this same reporter explaining the complexities of noise, but it appears that he did not understand or was convinced otherwise by someone else. We have complained about the noise often. That is because we are one of the closest homes to the project, approximately 3800’. We are downwind and it is an open shot to the turbines. When the wind is out of the south, it drives the noise directly to us because we are northeast of the project. As I said before, when the wind is out of the north it creates a constant low frequency rumble. Another factor is wind speed. If the turbines are at less than half capacity, then the noise is not typically an issue. If the wind is out of the east noise is not an issue.
Our neighbor Reggie Johnson lives just across the road, approximately 3400’ from the closest turbine. It’s the same circumstances for him, except that the noise is louder there because he is closer.
He and his partner Shirley often sleep in their living room in recliners on the opposite side of the house to get away from the noise. Their assessment dropped as well. They complained often to the same people that we did and were ignored as well.
We do have neighbors up the road who are upwind or shielded by forest who do not get the noise. There are homes that have sold down the mountain on this road where they are at least a mile away and they are shielded by several thousand feet of forest. They do not get the noise either.
So you can see that there are several factors which come into play with the noise: turbine speed, wind direction, distance, home proximity and whether there is buffering from forests or other topography.
The noise continues, but we have stopped complaining to the DPS and the PSB out of pure frustration with being ignored. So I’m asking, could you please help us as you indicated in the article that you would?
Thank you, Melodie McLane