Ten property owners have asked the Select Board to negotiate a land buyout agreement with a wind farm developer should the project be approved.
The Select Board took no action on the request Monday, saying only that they would take the request under advisement after discussion with town council and the board’s third member, Mike Genest, who was not in attendance.
Residents are asking that an agreement be put in place in which Antrim Wind will purchase their properties at full appraised prices within two years of the project’s completion, according to the letter. The residents requested that the condition be added to an overall operating agreement contract between Antrim Wind and the town.
It’s unclear, however, whether the town can broker such an agreement, considering the town already has a current contract with AWE from 2012.
Select Board member Bob Edwards urged residents to bring their property value concerns to the Site Evaluation Committee, which is hearing testimony from the developer of the wind farm and residents this month.
“If you have concerns about this, as you do, I would expect that you would go in front of the SEC as an intervenor and express them,” said Edwards.
The SEC is expected to render a decision by month’s end on the 9-turbine farm to be build on Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain, and has the power to place conditions on the approval, including requiring some form of recompense if home owners can prove a lost value in their property.
Edwards added that the town had executed a contracted agreement with Antrim Wind Energy, in 2012.
“People raised these issues then,” pointed out Edwards, who added that the board of the time had reached the conclusion that everything that needed to be in the agreement was covered.
Richard Block, one of the residents who signed the letter, disagreed. “Maybe everything the Select Board wanted was in there, but not necessarily all the things that we as residents of Antrim wanted,” he said.
Block also questioned whether a buyout agreement could only be stipulated by the Site Evaluation Committee, saying it could be a separate agreement between the town and Antrim Wind.
“I think this is very much in your purview,” said Block. “We’re looking for the Board of Selectmen to work with us.”