Impact on People and Zoning/Planning
Residents raised those exact concerns months ago before the turbine was built, but their worries were dismissed by a stack of reports and experts who said those problems, if they existed at all, would be so insignificant, that no one would notice.
And what's troubling about all the experts and turbine proponents being so far off the mark on these issues is the fact that most were equally dismissive about concerns the neighbors have raised about safety.
The long-awaited full report on the Horse Creek Wind Farm noise study will go public in a week, the town announced Wednesday. But the availability of the report was not enough to satisfy upset residents who stormed into the council meeting demanding that the town start formulating a local law to limit noise levels of wind turbines and establish setbacks.
"We need to start clearing the air," said Patricia Booras-Miller, vice president of Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization of Jefferson County.
But here in Gloucester, it seems that government is "by the developer, for the developer." The City Council has cast a unanimous vote to grant a special permit for a private-use wind turbine that Mac Bell plans to install on the banks of the Annisquam River, rising 240 feet into the air and only 315 feet from a playground.
Sixty neighbors who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed turbine site signed a petition opposing it. Ward 3 Councilor Steven Curcuru dismissed this number as "insignificant."
As the debate over "Wind Farms" continues, and is now into court, I cannot help but wonder why it has progressed this far dividing neighbors, friends and families. I also reflect on how the whole ordeal, which has put much undue stress on all parties involved, could have been avoided had our County Board followed normal protocol regarding the granting of Special Use Permits. Last fall, when the hearing for Special Use Application was in front of the County Zoning Board of Appeals, there were several long nights of testimony from both sides. After all testimony was heard, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-1 to deny the application. At that point, in normal county procedure, the issue is over and the applicants must wait a year to apply again. However, in this case, our County Board leadership decided to be above the norm and overturn the Zoning Board of Appeal's recommendation forcing themselves and the county into imminent litigation.
If the PSC guidelines didn't reflect the state real estate association data on decreased property values, and if the industry cannot guarantee acceptable sound levels prior to construction, then the risk is all mine.
As long as there is not a clear and easy recourse to be sure my rights and property values are protected, I will object.
The surprise that one week before Thanksgiving Massachusetts Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi had thrown a last-minute Mickey into a state energy bill was no surprise at all…just business as usual. Well… maybe not so usual.
The obvious beneficiary of this maneuver to allow development of “alternative energy” projects within previously protected state ocean sanctuaries is one Jay Cashman, multi-millionaire construction tycoon and close personal friend of the speaker. Cashman has announced his plans to desecrate Buzzards Bay in the name of renewable profits.
The “Penobscot Wind Park” is clearly an inappropriate and incompatible use of county conservation and recreational land. We support the efforts of the current Bear Creek supervisors as they attempt to bring order to this project, which was given a free reign by the previous township administration. For our part DOW, with our partners from Bear Creek Township, will continue to fight for taxpayers rights in court. Concerned sportsmen, and Luzerne County residents should demand that the majority Luzerne County commissioners begin to protect this property and the rights of the taxpayers who will ultimately pay for it.
CanWEA, as a lobbyist organization for the multi-national wind industry will make every attempt possible to discount or minimize any potential problems in order to keep government subsidies rolling in to the corporations they represent and get their towers erected. CanWEA is not an environmental advocacy group.
In Mr. Waltz's opinion, the task of writing a meaningful noise ordinance that would, in fact, adequately protect Prattsburgh residents is difficult.
Mr. Waltz made a number of extremely provocative comments.
One, ...wind turbines produce no constant tonality, no universal signature, making the creation of a noise standard challenging. Two, the most critical issue isn't audible noise; ...Three, because the DEC Noise Guidelines measure DBA without any consideration of low frequency noise, those guidelines are not an appropriate standard for a Prattsburgh Noise Ordinance.
Manhattan (Kansas) benefits greatly from the scenic and intrinsic values of Flint Hills ranching landscapes and the from the stewardship of ranch landowners who struggle to preserve a way of life in the Flint Hills in Riley County and the two adjacent counties to the south and southeast.
Setback requirements are a protection of the public health, safety and individual property rights - not a yardstick of a project's economic success. The people who have the most experience with commercial wind power today are the Europeans. They are saying that a minimum of one mile from residences and any turbine should be imposed to protect the public.
But the bigger issue here is that our locally elected officials denied the project as designed and the governor believes she should override local land use authority based on how much more money Horizon can make.
Ten of the 19 proposed turbines would violate Bureau County Zoning ordinances, mostly on being too close to homes, property lines and housing communities like Normandy. The developers have asked for variances to these ordinances. It is curious that developers could not find other spots for these 10 turbines in the thousands of surrounding acres.
Now for the disturbing bits. The renewable energy field experts on the panel that evening were present to offer their views on the future of "green energy." Mr. Slaymaker, a representative of a wind turbine project builder/operator, claimed that those who object to wind turbines need only to be "educated" to turn them to the wind side.
I, my wife, and dozens of other Stephenson County citizens who oppose the wind turbine project proposed for Lancaster Township have spent the past six months "educating" ourselves and the only thing that's turning is our stomachs.
That's not good enough for Lisa Betts, who is calling on the county to increase the setback to two kilometres. She feels the setback should be 10 times the height of the turbine. Only then would nearby residents not have to listen to the turbine blades or be bothered by shadows cast by the turning blades.
While she may or may not be crying wolf, we have to be sure there is sufficient evidence to support the county's proposed setbacks before it ends up with egg on its face. After all, it's a situation that's going to keep coming up as more developers look at the county as a location for wind farms.
We hope other Virginia localities watching these proceedings will profit from learning that currently unreliable wind power is green only for those who are allowed to siphon off government money at taxpayers’ expense and that as this high-cost energy is fed back into the grid, it will result in higher, not lower, electric bills for users. And we hope the cumulative anguish of Highlanders expressed during the hearings will give other decision-makers pause when they consider the real costs of wrongly-sited wind power.
I would ask the Nova Scotia Government to take a serious, long, hard look at this whole industry and take some leadership by declaring the minimum standards by which wind energy projects must abide. A responsible, intelligent set of standards could set the way for the rest of the country! Use the experience of those who have had turbines for decades and learn from their mistakes.
Blindly surging ahead into wind energy without considering health and safety factors and reasonable enjoyment of a resident's property is not looking after your constituents - the people of Nova Scotia.
So it's dead - or on life support, at best.
The news that three county commissioners went public this week against the Florida Power & Light Co. wind turbine project on Hutchinson Island effectively seems to have killed the idea. All we're lacking now is the official obituary.
Paula Lewis was the latest to make up her mind, following Doug Coward, but it was the project's chief proponent - Chris Craft - who turned a few heads Tuesday when he announced his opposition.
In the last several months my neighbours and I have directly spoken to many people whose lives have been affected by wind energy projects. It seems like there is not a project out there, large or small, that leaves a community unaffected.
We have most recently heard from Pastor Mark Harris of Mars Hill, Maine. Pastor Harris was here at the Seventh Day Adventist camp on the Gulf Shore this week. This camp sees an average of 1000 people per week through the summer season.
There is only one wind farm in Maine, and it is on Mars Hill. There are 20 families whose lives have been seriously and detrimentally affected by this project, built by UPC. Some turbines are extremely close to families. Complaints have been made from people living as far away as three miles.
I have been a resident in the town of Arkwright for almost 10 years. In my opinion, the town board meeting was not an indication of "the community coming together." A community is not together because the town supervisor declares that to the local media to sway public opinion. A community does not come together when proposing ideas and addressing important concerns to the leaders of our town is looked at as "confrontational questions" and "obvious objections." This is not about who agrees with wind power and who disagrees with wind power. The community is divided because Horizon is a huge company, no longer an American company, that has come into a small town with landowners desperate for money, in a society that no longer supports local farming, and a town board basing decisions on financial gains and nothing more. The result: 47 gigantic wind towers up to 330 feet and a turbine size of up to 300 feet, in an area that was considered residential/agricultural a year ago and has since been switched over to industrial zoning.
The Lee County Zoning Board ...blatantly ignored its statutory responsibilities by recommending that the current 12-year-old, 1,400-foot setback distance between homes and wind turbines remain unchanged. ...this recommendation was made with absolutely no consideration or compassion for the harmful health effects that today's huge wind turbines would wreak upon Township families.