Library filed under Property Values from New York
There have been numerous papers written recently concerning the question of whether property values are affected by nearby wind farms. It's not a great leap of faith to realize that major structures close to residences like electrical transmission towers, highways, train tracks and wind turbines all affect the market value of our homes.
Opponents of wind farm development in Jefferson County have touted property value decline as a possible harm. But that argument, or any counterclaim, is getting little support from experts. Two studies on property values around wind farms were released in 2009, but had very different results. The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory supported a study that found no measurable value loss linked to wind farms in sales data.
The town supervisor talks of how the record shows, where there is municipal water service, the building of homes will follow. What he fails to mention is that where there is the possibility of an industrial wind park that the "for sale" signs start to show up in the area as one can plainly see when driving through the village of Cape Vincent, including the one on Mr. Rienbeck's house which has been for sale for well over a year.
My house and land is in Prattsburgh, across from turbine sites for the Ecogen wind project, and my wife owns adjacent property in Naples, Ontario County. I've heard some people say "what's happening in the hills with the wind turbines won't affect me." What these folks may not yet realize is that, if these turbines are allowed to damage the value of adjacent properties, their taxes will go up. And the first step in this one-two process has just started.
Property values must ultimately be determined through professional appraisals and, if necessary, appeals. Meanwhile to confirm the obvious, ask a prospective buyer if they would still be interested in purchasing your home after learning that wind turbines will be constructed within the view shed of your property. Wyoming County landowners who are planning to "escape" the future onslaught of wind farms must be advised that the marketing of potentially encumbered property requires full disclosure ...Do not sacrifice your quality of life and that of your children as well as your most important financial investment by remaining passive and silent.
A report by congressional investigators concludes power lines like the proposed New York Regional Interconnect in upstate New York could make the electric grid more efficient, but could also pose safety and security risks. The Government Accountability Office released the report Friday, examining the possible effects of building a line like NYRI. The company wants to build a 190-mile, high voltage power line running from Utica into Orange County to feed the growing power demands of the suburbs around New York City and alleviate some of the congestion in the electric grid. "When you look at the report as a whole, it clearly confirms many of the things that we have talked about in terms of the damage (NYRI) would do," said Rep. Michael Arcuri, a Utica Democrat who sought the GAO review.
As a veteran of the wind turbine war over East Hill in Cherry Valley, I have advice for residents of Fulton and Richmondville.
Town officials who want to find out about wind power should book a room at the Flat Rock Inn in Tug Hill, in the midst of New York's largest wind plant, which has more than 150, 400-foot-high turbines. If they like the look during the day and the sound at night, they should come back and tell their constituents that the current proposal for wind power is just perfect. We, however, disagree. Yes, wind power is a wonderful solution to our energy problems but, like many good things, it can become a bad thing when used irresponsibly. Wind power plants must be carefully and responsibly sited and operated. The proposal as it stands is unsatisfactory and would seriously harm our community.
The debate over wind turbines for Meredith is already an emotionally charged one. It is an issue that pits neighbor against neighbor; for a landowner, receiving payment from a wind company to erect these monstrosities on his property effectively does so at the expense of his immediate neighbors. Therefore, I find it hard to understand the assertion from members of the town board that this is good for Meredith. This is, in fact, tearing our town apart, and one need only attend a town board meeting to realize the anger that is being generated will be with us for a very, very long time.
Even the most basic research will reveal the life-changing impact of the turbines on nearby communities. Of course, you will find some who speak well of them, but they are very much in the minority. Most people who live close (and, according to the feeble 1,000-foot setbacks, some people will be very close) speak of lives ruined by vibration, flicker and so on. Let there be no misunderstanding, those who sign up to take these turbines will inflict misery on anyone else close by.
The Jordanville Wind Project’s 68 proposed wind turbines, which would stand nearly 400 feet tall, could have a visual impact on southern Herkimer County and as far away as Cooperstown. A debate is emerging among residents about how the sight of the turbines would affect the beauty of the landscape, land values and tourism. Some think the impact will be small or nonexistent, while others believe there could be many downsides. People visit the Cooperstown area not just for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, other museums and tourist attractions, but also for the scenic views, said Harry Levine of a citizens’ group called Advocates for Springfield. “I think we have to be very careful how we treat this background landscape because it could have a long-term effect on tourism,” Levine said.
Sue Brander of Advocates of Stark and also a wind farm opponent, sees several other economic disadvantages. Brander sees the wind farms as a federal tax scam. She said the federal policies were designed by Jeffry Skilling, the former Chief Financial Officer for Enron, who is now in jail. The 68-turbine project proposed for the Stark, Jordanville, Warren area would cost approximately $136 million. Under the current system, the owner of the project can deduct 64 percent of the investment in two years, which comes out to $96 million. Brander said that Congress needs to review these laws and change them because investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs, are buying them just for the tax write off. She also sees an economic disadvantage for real estate value. Brander said that although some developers and market analysts have said property prices would not go down, properties up for sale around wind farms see less interest than homes away from wind farms. “It is all supply and demand, and people are seeing losses in their real estate value,” said Brander.
An interesting letter from Noble Environmental Power that suggests by implication that there must be some 'downside' to being the neighbor of a wind plant.
Because time seems to be running out on fossil fuels and the lure of non-polluting windpower is so seductive, some people are now promoting windpower initiatives at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history......Throughout my experience, I could not substantiate a single claim developers made for industrial wind energy, including the one justifying its existence: that massive wind installations would meaningfully reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. When you understand this, you realize the wind business is not really that complex. But there are a lot of complicated issues swirling around it that obscure and distract from this main point, issues such as global warming, property values, the nature of wind leases, local revenues and taxes, wildlife, natural views, and a host of others. So how does one know the truth of it all? How does one go about separating the reality from spin?
But I was sitting at my kitchen table in North Buffalo, far from the wind farms of the Southern Tier, and such distance makes for simple, black-and-white comprehension. There are places in Western New York where wind energy isn’t so clear a choice. Places with names like Perry, Sheldon and Arkwright, rural towns perched atop the high glacial ridges to the east and south of the city, whose landscapes might soon be dominated by hundreds of towering, 400-foot windmills. As wind companies eye their windswept fields and make overtures to local town boards, divisions run deeper and deeper between citizens who disagree on the merits of wind farm development in their backyards. In such locales, the gray areas of wind development come into sharp focus.
Eric and Kyle Hosmer of Howard address the Howard Town Board meeting Wednesday night and asked that a letter they read to the board be placed in the official minutes. The request was denied for the time being. As a courtesy, we are printing portions of that letter here.Editor's Note: The complete letter follows.
Project Report Submitted to the Faculty of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy..in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental PolicyEditor's Note: There are two recurring themes in this study: (1) the results are applicable only to Fenner and (2) much more research is needed. What is clearly missing is a ‘sense of place’, a variable acknowledged by the author as important but left unaddressed. What we’re told is that Fenner is a ‘rural farming community’. We have no sense of what drives residents/prospective residents to live in (or, for that matter, to leave) Fenner. We have no sense of ‘public attitudes’, another variable the author clearly ties to property values but leaves unaddressed. What is noticeably missing are house sales within 0.75 miles of the wind plant, i.e. those that would presumably be most impacted by noise and shadow flicker. In the absence of more authoritative studies, we know from press reports associated with wind plants and wind plant applications that ‘opposition’ appears to be lowest in ‘farming’ communities in which farmers view the turbines as a ‘cash crop’ and local municipalities covet the related taxes. We also know from these sources that opposition is greatest in communities that have something to ‘protect’, i.e. treasured/scenic natural assets (ridgelines, shorelines, unique/sensitive habitats), tourist/second home based economies and/or wildlife. Where these are issues, it is hardly a ‘leap of faith’ to surmise that property values will fare comparatively worse than in communities where these issues don’t exist and that properties specifically impacted by the turbines (view/noise/shadow flicker, etc) will fare the worst. As the author readily concedes, ‘public attitudes’ is an important determinant of property values and the opposition within these communities often reflects the prevailing public attitude towards wind turbines. After all, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION is what real estate is all about. Lastly, Hoen offers a useful critique (available below) of the REPP report that is often pointed to by wind turbine developers as evidence that wind plants do not adversely affect property values.
Background: One month after the plaintiffs purchased defendants' 133-acre Otsego County property, they learned that plans were in the works for the construction of large wind turbines on the adjacent parcel. They thereafter commenced this action seeking rescission of the contract and money damages stemming from alleged fraud and misrepresentation on the part of defendants in conjunction with the sale. At issue was an order of the Supreme Court denying summary judgment to the defendants. Summary judgment is when the court rules against a party without a trial) to defendants. The court upheld the denial of summary judgment. The ruling can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This letter, written by Tom Hewson, responds to a New York State resident who had inquired about the impact of industrial wind turbines on property values. The letter specifically critiques the REPP study. It provides as well an overview of other studies that existed as of Fall 2003. "The issue simply comes down to nuisance and aesthetics. If the project creates a nuisance (noise, shadow flicker, TV/cell phone interference, radar interference), it can cause lower property values to adversely affected areas. People can simply apply their own personal evaluation criteria to determine the extent of the property change. What would it be worth to you? Generally, the bigger the nuisance, the larger the devaluation. Localities can minimize nuisances from wind projects by setting minimum setbacks, proper location siting and noise limits. My concern with the REPP study is that it doesn't try to examine the nuisance effect by selecting a large 5 mile area."