The Sheffield Board of Civil Authority voted Wednesday evening not to reduce the assessed value of a Sheffield property owner's homestead, located next door to a Sheffield industrial wind farm.
Steven and Luann Therrien's house and 49 acres were appraised by the Sheffield Board of Listers at $86,900. The property is located on the New Duck Pond Road and is next door to the First Wind industrial wind farm. The Therriens claim the presence of the wind farm has resulted in ongoing and serious health issues for both Steven and Luann and that the visible impact of the wind towers and the noise generated by the wind turbines have diminished their property value.
According to the Therriens, as a result of the construction of the wind farm, the Therriens cannot find a buyer for their property.
After the Sheffield Board of listers rejected the Therriens' request for a lowered appraisal on their property, the Therriens filed an appeal, which is heard by the town's Board of Civil Authority. The BCA is made up of the town's selectmen and justices of the peace.
On Sept. 17, BCA members Max Aldrich, Ken Vos, Walter Smith and Gay Ellis made a site visit to the Therriens' property and hiked through the woods and through a clearing to the top of a steep hill where they could gain a good view of several of the wind turbines. They tried to listen for sounds coming from the turbines. On the day of the visit, Steve Therrien said the sound varies in intensity depending on how fast the blades are turning and the direction of the wind. Therrien said that on the day of the visit, the wind was blowing in the wrong direction and the sound of the generators on the blades was barely audible.
On Wednesday night, the four members of the BCA met. According to Sheffield Town Clerk William St. Peter, a motion was made to keep the listers' appraised value of $86,900 in place and decline to reduce it. When a vote was taken by the members, Max Aldrich and Walter Smith voted in favor of the motion while Ken Vos and Gay Ellis voted against the motion. Because the vote was a tie vote, the listers' appraised value of $86,900 remained.
The Therriens have been trying for several years to get First Wind to buy them out so that they can relocate, but have not been successful. Luann Therrien, in a published opinion piece, recently stated the Therriens would accept an offer of $150,000 from First Wind. In return, the Therriens would sell First Wind their land and home and relocate to another area.