Mr. Michael McCann, a certified general real estate appraiser with 28-years experience appraising residential and commercial property, testified before the Tazewell County, Illinois Zoning Board of Appeals. The Board is conducting hearings on the Rail Splitter wind energy facility proposed by Horizon Wind. The planned facility will straddle Logan and Tazewell counties and includes 38 industrial turbines in Tazewell and another 29 slated for Logan.
McCann's testimony comments on the REPP report usually cited by wind developers. Mr. McCann describes the REPP report as "an industry publication as opposed to something made by an appraisal firm or an objective third party. As I've learned in the past, it is essentially a study that was done at the behest of and financed by the wind power industry." He adds that "Even in that study it recognizes that 70 or 72 percent of the properties aren't even within a view shed of these wind farm facilities."
Properties in the case of the Rail Splitter wind facility, according to Mr. McCann, will be in the view shed and within the project footprint.
The short question and answer below was excerpted from McCann's testimony.
Q. Have you reviewed any other studies with respect to wind farm effects on property values that we haven't talked about?
A. Well, I have reviewed a, in the past some information about an assessor's sale ratio study in Wisconsin.
Q. What did that study show?
A. Well, it showed property sales were, actually adjacent to an existing wind farm there, were a significant percentage lower, 15 to 20 percent lower, if I remember correctly or maybe as high as 27 percent in closer proximity to what the baseline or assessed values were, as differentiated from the other properties in that county that were selling at much closer to, you know a 1.0 factor to the assessment ratio.
Q. Does the public's perception of a negative trait or perceived negative trait with respect to something like a wind farm have an effect on property values?
A. Well, it certainly can, if it's a perception that sticks or if there is an aversion to selling - or excuse me - to buying properties based on unknowns and fears and lack of guarantees and so forth. When it's an unknown quantity, there is the fear, and those kinds of perceptions can certainly be a factor in the buy/sell decision.
Q. You have heard some testimony and talk today about health issues, environmental issues, etc., are those the type of issues that can have a negative effect on property values?
A. To the extent that people react to them by selling out lower or not buying at all or holding out for a discounted price, yes, it certainly can be a factor.
Q. In your research have you found that there is a significant portion of the general public that has a general negative perception of wind farms or property around wind farms?
A. Not just in my research, but also in the research cited in appendixes eight and nine. There is a variety of studies referenced in those two appendixes that cite various surveys of communities and assessor's offices, and so forth, and there are several references to people' perceptions along that line, yes.