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The Manchester Village Planning Commission's Policy Statement on the Proposed Little Equinox Mountain Wind Farm

http://www.manchesterjournal.com/letters/ci_3566178|Manchester Planning Commission|March 3, 2006
VermontGeneral

The Manchester Village Planning Commission unanimously opposes the use of the Equinox ridgeline for Wind Power Development.


At a Special Meeting of the Commission held on Saturday, Feb. 25, to discuss the results of the recent Wind Forum, the Commission concluded, unanimously, that the proposed project should not be supported because:
 
1. The project violates both the Town and Village Plans of Development.
 
2. The project's detriments outweigh its benefits to the Manchester Community.
 
3. No pollution reductions will result because of the "Green Tag" sale.
 
The Wind Summit, the last of the five-part Wind Forum series, held on Feb. 11, culminated in "keypad polling." The following results reflected the votes of the 68 Manchester residents, which included a number of Town and Village officials, out of the total of 80+ participants:
 
a. Strong opponents of the project outnumbered strong supporters by 3 to 1.
 
b. 75 percent were most concerned about the "visual impact of the turbines on the viewshed."
 
c. 68 percent indicated a Town-Developer agreement had the most potential financial benefit for the town.
 
However, the developer's proposed "dowry" of $30,000 per year, is totally ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     

At a Special Meeting of the Commission held on Saturday, Feb. 25, to discuss the results of the recent Wind Forum, the Commission concluded, unanimously, that the proposed project should not be supported because:
 
1. The project violates both the Town and Village Plans of Development.
 
2. The project's detriments outweigh its benefits to the Manchester Community.
 
3. No pollution reductions will result because of the "Green Tag" sale.
 
The Wind Summit, the last of the five-part Wind Forum series, held on Feb. 11, culminated in "keypad polling." The following results reflected the votes of the 68 Manchester residents, which included a number of Town and Village officials, out of the total of 80+ participants:
 
a. Strong opponents of the project outnumbered strong supporters by 3 to 1.
 
b. 75 percent were most concerned about the "visual impact of the turbines on the viewshed."
 
c. 68 percent indicated a Town-Developer agreement had the most potential financial benefit for the town.
 
However, the developer's proposed "dowry" of $30,000 per year, is totally inadequate compensation for the alteration of the Equinox ridgeline, and our community's viewshed. It represents less than one third of a cent in the current Town Tax Rate.
 
Several fundamental contradictions have concerned us from the outset:
 
a. Why are we discarding the preservation requirements of our Plans of Development? The Manchester Town Plan of Development states: "Structures shall not be permitted on or near mountaintops and ridgelines, so that these features are preserved in their natural state." similarly, the Manchester Village Plan of Development says: "The natural and irreplaceable resources such as the scenic backdrop of Mount Equinox should be preserved." The proposed five-turbine installation is in clear violation of those provisions of the Plans.
 
b. Can we continue to keep an open mind about the Endless Energy Corporation proposal when its representatives have not been forthcoming on Fundamental issues, such as financial viability and wind farm construction expertise, and have misrepresented other facts relating to the proposed development?
 
THEREFORE, unless convincing new information emerges to the contrary, the Manchester Village Planning Commission feels compelled to oppose the proposed wind farm at Little Equinox Mountain, based on the following facts:
 
1. The proposal contradicts both the Manchester Town and Manchester Village Plans of Development.
 
2. The five turbine structures will permanently debase the natural beauty of Manchester's highly scenic asset, our Equinox ridgeline, due to their 390' height and 300' rotor span.
 
3. The windmills would present a visual and noise threat to the entire Community, especially to residents on Bentley Hill, Ormsby Hill, Lathrop Lane and McCooey Drive. These problems might well become seriously detrimental to property values in those areas and beyond.
 
4. Several of Manchester's most visually sensitive attractions would be negatively affected by the dominating presence of the turbines; these include Equinox Pond, Hildene, Union Street, and large sections of the Battenkill.
 
5. By far, the financial beneficiaries of the Wind Farm enterprise would be Endless Energy, its investors, the Burlington Electric Company (BED) and BED customers, whereas Manchester would be virtually left out of the money. Specific estimates, based on the best available information including Endless Energy' 20 year contract with BED, are:
 
Developer benefits:
 
Endless Energy's revenues $43 million
 
Unnamed investors' profits $27 million
 
BED Green Tag Revenues $25 million
 
Investor Fed. Tax Loss Benefits $18 million
 
Fed. Renewable Energy Tax Credit $5.5 million
 
Manchester Town revenues:
 
Manchester Town Tax (excl. educ.) $20,000 per year: $400,000 total over 20 yrs.
 
Manchester "Dowry": $30,000 per year: $600,000 total over 20 yrs.
 
Manchester Electric Rate Savings: NONE
 
Manchester's residents currently pay 11 cents per kWh and will get no benefit from power produced on its Equinox ridgeline. That power is being sold by Endless Energy to BED for 7 cents per kWh.
 
6. Under present FAA rules, at least three (possibly all five) of the turbine towers would be required to display flashing red lights night and day.
 
7. Endless Energy's claim that the proposed wind farm will reduce pollution is negated by the fact that the "Green Tags" sold to out-of-state power companies would allow their oil and coal-burning plants to continue to pollute the air on a kilowatt for kilowatt basis compensated by this wind farm's output.
 
The Manchester Village Planning Commission urges all members of the community to participate in the important vote on Article #20 at the 2006 Manchester Town Meeting on March 4.
 
Dated: February 27, 2006
 
The Manchester Village Planning Commission
 
Diane Morgan Olcott, Chair
 
Barry Brown, Bruce Duff, Sheila Foster, Al Michaels, Arthur Scutro, Hunter Yager

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Source:http://www.manchesterjournal.…

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