Library filed under Property Values from Vermont
One of the concerns cited by homeowners is a sharp drop in home values that is caused by the aesthetics, noise pollution and related health effects. Neighbors reference instances where families have abandoned their homes after years of being unable to sell but the developers, Swanton Wind, points to academic and government studies reporting there is no evidence that wind farms damage home values.
The neighbors in Swanton will be just over 2,000 feet to the proposed turbines, which is more than 1,000’ closer to the project than any homes on Georgia Mountain. The proposed turbines in Swanton are also nearly 60’ taller than the ones here. So I think it’s safe to say that they have a very valid reason to be worried about their property values.
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.
Before deliberating, the BCA in attendance agreed they should visit the Therrien property, preferably when the wind is blowing and the turbines are turning, to see firsthand the proximity of the towers to the property and to experience any disturbances created by the towers.
McCafferty said there are multiple problems with wind farms -- such as the aesthetics and the noise associated with them. "People don't come to Vermont to look at wind farms and they don't come to Vermont to hear a lot of noise. So, these are direct impacts on the values," McCafferty said. Before the crowd departed for the night, Wright gave them one last message.
In a study McCann did on Lee County, Ill., the average price per square foot for a home outside 2 miles of the wind project was $104.72. For those that were within 2 miles of the project the average sale price was $78.84 per square foot - a decline in value of approximately 25 percent. One couple that was part of a panel at Friday's forum - Scott and Melodie McLane from Georgia, Vt. - experienced the depreciation of the value their home first hand.
In one case, as reported in the Sunday Free Press, the value of property was decreased by a whopping $50,000 from a price of nearly $410,000 because of proximity to a wind turbine. A homeowner saw a $700 reduction in the annual tax bill. Now that’s real cash gained because of financial harm — bona fide or perceived, it doesn’t matter. Though in terms of reducing enjoyment of property because of noise, altered views or flicking lights, this change is not exactly a favorable return on investment.
When Melodie McLane of Georgia used to drive by the wind turbines in Clinton, N.Y., she says, she always looked at them with wondrous curiosity. But now, after four industrial wind towers were built near her home on Georgia Mountain Road, she dreads them. 'I had no idea it would be this bad,' she says, describing a constant noise she says makes it hard to sleep or go outside.
The members unanimously agreed that the sound of the turbines-- any sound-- was enough. "It's a noise that's a constant sort of noise. I once described it as if you're on a coastline and way off in the distance, there's a freighter going by and you hear the engine going-- chug, chug, chug. That's the kind of noise that you experience," Vickers explained.
An inspection committee found that noise emissions from the Georgia Mountain wind energy facility negatively impacted a residential property near the project. An excerpt of the decision can be seen below. The grievance decision to reduce the value of the property can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) on this page.
If we allow these wind turbines to come it is very possible that the economic health of Vermont as we know it today will be irreversibly damaged. Vermont will no longer be known as the last bastion of rugged beauty in the United States.
She told me the windmills are 15 minutes out of Palm Springs and not visible from the city. When I asked her if there were any homes in the area, she answered, "Oh, no," in a tone suggesting that my question was quite ridiculous.
There are no definitive, objective studies of effects of wind energy projects on property values; however, real estate agents recognize and agree that properties with significant natural views have premium value and intrusions on these views erode value. Read all the references to "beautiful view" in real estate ads. People care greatly about view and buy accordingly.
READSBORO — Officials from the two towns most affected by a proposed wind facility met on Wednesday night to discuss the economic impacts of a 30-turbine development. The Readsboro and Searsburg Select Boards met in the Central School gym to discuss the financial benefits and strains that can be expected by a town hosting a wind farm. Robert Ide of the Vermont Department of Public Service attended, as did about 10 residents. Searsburg is now the home of the state's only existing commercial wind facility. There are 11 turbines producing about 6 megawatts of electricity. A 30- to 45-megawatt plant with 20 to 30 new turbines has been proposed for ridgelines spanning both Readsboro and Searsburg.
It is noteworthy that this study does not answer the basic question of how wind turbines affect property values. George Sterzinger, executive director of REPP, admitted as much in response to critics who stressed that the study contains no proof that wind farms were the reason for the changes in property values: “ We have no idea”…noting REPP did not have enough time or money to answer that question. (Cape Cod Times 6/20/03).
I have reviewed Beacon Hill’s two reports, i.e. 'Free But Costly: An Economic Analysis of A Wind Farm in Nantucket Sound" (March 2004) and ‘Blowing in the Wind' (October 2003) which focused primarily on tourism and property values. The complete reports are available from www.beaconhill.org. The following consists of two parts. Part I addresses some key findings as well as some thoughts on methodology. Part II focuses on what may or may not be applicable to Glebe.