We do not think there is any real disagreement on this subject. If wind turbines were to be constructed in the area of the existing $200,000 to $400,000 homes, the value of the homes would decline. Foley & Lardner even seems to concede this when it advises the Town in its erroneous “you can’t say no” argument that the Town cannot even consider the issue of property values. If town government is not here to protect its citizens, our property values, and the Town’s tax base, what is the purpose of town government?
Having been maligned by FPL Energy and its advocates as thugs and purveyors of “misinformation,” I invite FPL Energy to prove to everyone here that our property values will not decline. They cannot and have not even attempted it because they recognize the comical nature of such an assertion. FPL Energy has simply re-submitted a few e-mails from assessors in Iowa that were queried in the fall of 1999 shortly after the turbines had been installed. In addition, the financial agreement FPL Energy proposed to some Town of Addison government official—outside of a public meeting, perhaps at one of the private dinners at MJ Stevens—would allow FPL Energy to escape responsibility for any and all property value declines.
Furthermore, once again the property value facts simply are not on FPL Energy’s side. In addition, we can demonstrate that property values will decline based on actual reported experience from around the world and in places that have far more experience than what presently exists in the U.S. For example:
The article, The Case Against Windfarms, and published by the Country Guardian stated:
The only benefit to an area is the site rent (£1,000 - £2,000 per annum per turbine) paid to a handful of landowners. The benefit could easily be outweighed by a decline in tourist numbers. It should be noted that with holiday cottages and caravan sites, tourism has become an important element of farm diversification. What one farmer gains another may lose. This is one of the reasons that communities have found themselves torn apart by the wind issue.
In terms of the impact on house values there can be no doubt. A partner in Durrants, the Mayfair and East Anglia chartered surveying firm, wrote (May 1998): ‘I can confirm that the outlook from a property does have a major bearing on its value and if this outlook is tarnished by a wind turbine or any similar structure, the values would be significantly decreased.’ International property consultants FPD Savills wrote in May 1998: ‘Any structure that can be viewed as an intrusion into the countryside such as electricity pylons or wind turbines will have a detrimental effect [on property values]. Usually, it will not only effect the value but also saleability which is not necessarily the same thing. Generally speaking, the higher the value of the property the greater the blight will be . . .As you go up the value scale, buyers generally become more discerning and the value of a farmhouse may be affected by as much as 30% if it is in close proximity to the wind turbine. Those houses that are within earshot are likely to be affected worst of all.
A chartered surveyor from Cumbria, Mr. R.D. Wolstenholme, has written to Open View of his experience: ‘I am a chartered surveyor and recently sold my house at Lambrigg. I found that the proposed windfarm there (will all of the implications for the additional ones adjoining) had a devastating effect on the value of my property. Three local agents all valued it at about £295,000 and during the first few weeks on the market we had three offers at around £280,000. Each accepted offer fell through as soon as it became apparent that the [windmill] proposals at Lambrigg, Firbank and Whinfell would all overlook the property. After being on the market for six months, and no less than nine failed sales, we eventually succeeded in selling to someone who was not bothered about them, but at a knock-down price of £250,000.’
In Denmark, the National Association of Neighbours of Wind Turbines say that most estate agents estimate a 25-30% fall in property value when turbines are put up nearby.
A copy of the County Guardian’s complete paper: The Case Against Windfarms (May 2000) is attached.
In Germany where the world’s largest number of turbines have been constructed, a group of professors and authors published the Darmstadt Manifesto on the Exploitation of Wind Energy in Germany in September 1998, which stated:
The negative effects of wind energy use are as much underestimated as its contribution to the statistics is overestimated. Falling property values reflect the perceived deterioration in the quality of life- not just in areas close to the turbines, but even all over Schleswig-Holstein. More and more people describe their lives as unbearable when they are directly exposed to the acoustic and optical effects of wind farms. There are reports of people being signed off sick and unfit for work, there is a growing number of complaints about symptoms such as pulse irregularities and states of anxiety, which are known from the effects of infrasound (sound of frequencies below the normal audible level). The animal world is also suffering at the hands of this technology. On the North Sea and Baltic coasts birds are being driven away their breeding, roosting and feeding grounds. These displacement effects are being increasingly observed inland, too.
Closer to home, we have obtained documents that demonstrate that there is anecdotal evidence that property values have declined in Kewaunee County. In a conversation with Madison Gas & Electric, the Wisconsin Energy Bureau learned:
Proximity to resi[dential] areas. Property value of adjacent property—resi[dential], mixed, commercial, and agri[cultural]. Some anecdotal report of lower prices on land adjacent to project. Factors (type of land), (General farm economy).
In addition, we have contacted the assessors that FPL Energy contacted and learned that they have not attempted to determine the impact that the wind turbines have had on property values.
I am sure FPL Energy and Foley & Lardner will malign this evidence just as they have maligned everything else we have ever said or done. Let them bring on the proof that can convince you that our property values and indeed the tax base of the entire town will not decline if this project were to be built. If FPL Energy and its advocates cannot prove this important fact—then I believe the Plan Commission has a duty to protect all of us, our investments in our homes and property, the Town’s tax base and our future by DENYING FPL Energy’s request for a Conditional Use Permit.
1 Assessor e-mails submitted by FPL Energy in 10/11/2000 Conditional Use Permit Application.
2 FPL Energy’s proposed financial agreements.
3 The Case Against Windfarms, Country Guardian, May 2000, pp. 15 – 16. (http://ourworld.compuserve.com/shomepages/windfarms/case.htm)
4 Darmstadt Manifesto on the Exploitation of Wind Energy in Germany and Cover Letter from Prof. Dr. Lothar Hoischen, September 1, 1998.
(http://wilfriedheck.tripod.com/manif4e.htm) 5 Energy Bureau notes of 9/17/99 conversation with Don Peterson and Greg Bollom of MG&E.
6 E-mails from Iowa assessors.