For most of the frequent readers of my blog, this letter has little to do with what I normally post about. However, it does serve as an example of our need to voice our opinions to local municipalities (and further, our State and Federal governments). We each have a civic responsibility to pay attention to local happenings, and be vigilant. This matter concerns an ongoing endeavor by our Town Board to place industrial wind turbines around my family’s property, of which the nearest 479′ turbine is about 300 yards form our home.
UPDATE 08.19.2013 – If you are a stakeholder for the Horse Creek project, of you want to read or post comments on the State’s Article 10 proceeding, please visit the public comment section of this site:
Clayton Town Board
Town of Clayton
Clayton, NY 13624
Phone: (315) 686-3512
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
*Request for inclusion in Town Meeting Minutes 08/14/2013.
Dear Clayton Town Board,
I’m a proponent of cleaner energy, but in the right locations and of the right kind.
The wide implementation of untested and unproven technologies is not only troubling to me, but something any right-thinking citizen should be vocal about raising awareness of if pursued by a governing, representational body. Similarly, and even more importantly, municipalities considering such implementations should be above board with their actions, intentions and dissemination of information, especially should they ever move to make or amend laws directly or indirectly provisioning such directives.
Putting aside the hasty arguments that rush for the development of green energy, especially those connected with a multi-national corporation or a political agenda who benefits from subsidies, tax credits and/or votes, the only two substantial motivators proposed to communities having already walked this road, are a) the monies generated for the land owners–most notably, farmers, whom I heartily support (and of all parties, are the most deserving of any benefits)–and b) the municipalities. Given modern research, any arguments that wind power somehow adds to the offsetting of existing power supply generated from fossil fuels is clumsy, and comes from entities who have not studied factual data, or have a purely political or economic agenda.
I have championed many causes in the name of progress, but as a non-particiapting resident who’s property line adjoins the intended overlay of the proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm, I am opposed to any further development, and have been since conducting my own research into the direct and indirect effects of these industrial turbines.
My wife and I intentionally purchased property outside of Depauville for the peace and serenity it provides our four children, and the respite it is from our busy international public life. To think that industrialization, at the expense of our property value, sleep, auditory senses, mental health and natural sight-lines is still looming over us is quite unsettling, and does little to strengthen my assurance that my local, elected officials have my family’s best interests in mind. While I certainly would appreciate higher revenue for both our farming communities and our municipalities, I will not abdicate my first responsibility of preserving the welfare of my wife and children for such an endeavor.
If I may be candid, I’m shocked this concept is still being entertained for our area, and that I’m once again writing letters of disapproval. Further still, I’m shocked that the Town has not listened to the recommendations of their own Citizens Wind Committee, made up of both pro- and anti-wind members.
I understand that the Town is duly burdened with evaluating competing interests of land owners. My intent is not to demonize any party, expect should any investigation expose those who are working subversively, or not painting the clearest picture for a community. The only motive of such individuals is personal gain at the expense of willfully ignoring the obvious negative ramifications endured by a community.
The current wind law noise ordinance does not have my family’s best interests in mind, nor does the larger prospect of altering the landscape and living conditions of our surrounding area with the Horse Creek Wind Farm. And if completely omitting the designation of our residence from either map I’ve been presented is supposed to strengthen my assurances of quality and care, the Town would be wrong.
The Horse Creek Wind Farm can be categorized as nothing but a nuisance—a dramatic, negative change in the living conditions of our area.
In Nevada State Supreme Court case Rick Sowers vs. Forest Hills Subdivision (February, 14th 2013), the court upheld a permanent injunction to ban the development of residential wind turbines, citing that the turbines were a “nuisance in fact.” This decision stemmed from extensive research that the turbines would interfere with the other residents of the Subdivision’s enjoyment of their property, as being “injurious to health, indecent and offensive to the senses, and/or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.” If such a finding can come from a high court’s examination of turbines significantly smaller than the the new 479’ high ones proposed for the Horse Creek Wind Farm, how is our own Town moving forward with additional considerations?
I would hope that a well-educated Board is reading the same peer-reviewed health journals that I am, citing the rising and overwhelming evidences that wind turbines have on the health of residents living in proximity to them. As just one example, in the March 2013 edition of The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, the authors report, “There is ample evidence of symptoms arising in individuals exposed to wind turbine noise.” They go on to state: “The documented (medical) symptoms are usually stress disorder-type diseases…and can represent serious harm to human health.”
In the same report, Dr. Amir Farboud of Glan Clwyd Hospital in Wales is quoted as saying, “…there is an increasing body of evidence suggesting that infrasound and low frequency noise (caused by the wind turbines) have physiological effects on the ear.”
While the Town voted to reject its own Citizens Wind Committee’s recommendations of ensuring ambient sound levels rise no more than 6dBa above ambient, and included ample information on subsonic findings, why does the Town’s current ordinance’s reasoning entirely omit any findings on low frequency noise and the ensuing vibratory effects on the human body?
I would like to remind us that a 3dB increase in power is equal to a doubling in volume (10 * log10 (2) = 3.01 dB). As a record producer and audio specialist, my own acoustic measurements taken on my property show an ambient, night time measurement average of 25 dBa, and a daytime average of 35 dBa, where a 10mph wind establishes an average 55 dBa reading.
According to peer-reviewed health research, and the lack of satisfactory, technical reasoning behind the Town’s current noise ordinance, pursuing any wind farm—now, or in the future—certainly can not be motivated by the ensuring of my family’s quality of life. So I can only assume motivations are then financial.
The Board’s promise of local labor, construction materials and indigenous revenue are tentative at best, and grossly misleading when set within the context of Article 10, giving New York State permission to usurp any shortcomings of our local agencies provisions with that of the State’s own prerogatives, ones I doubt will ever be locally beneficial. For our leadership to even propose such promises, while fully knowing this legal loophole exists, is subversive at best, and insulting to those less informed on the issues at worst. The Board, in effect, could “promise” anything that appeases people, knowing full well it does not need to stand behind said promises as a higher authority is involved.
In all of the financial promises made to communities I’ve researched, no net figures are presented, only gross. Nor do the informing bodies ever explain that the windfall monies are generated by taxpayers and ratepayers of the locality. Likewise, deals between the wind industry and municipalities are premised on enormous property tax giveaways, something no other citizen gets. The reality is, there are profits for the developers, profits for the municipalities, and expenses for the taxpayers.
I greatly fear that our home value will drop significantly should this industrial wind farm be allowed to move forward. Who will assure we are able to retain the value upon immediate sale? The National Association of Realtors has amply recognized the definitive reductions on property values; is this something the Town is prepared to compensate my family for? Not only are the turbines taller than when I last wrote the Board in 2008, but there are additional poles for cabling, far higher than existing telephone cables.
Pursing this course any further jeopardizes the health, safety, welfare and property values of the residents living adjacent to this proposed industrial wind farm. I urge the Town to amend our local law noise ordinance to reflect the recommendations of their own Citizens Wind Committee, and desist in the pursuit of this political project.
As a job creator and owner of numerous restaurant franchises, a co-pastor of the area’s largest church, an executive in professional audio, publishing and marketing, and certainly as a husband and father of four, I have lived a life that esteems human life and seeks to generate revenue for worthy causes; as such, in my personal and professional opinion, I can not ascertain how the pursuit of this wind farm betters our community, strengthens relationships, or adds value to the next generation beyond the detrimental repercussions proven in previously tested environments. I look forward to further public communications from the Town as to why it esteems the advancement of any wind developer’s requests in our area.
Mr. Christopher K. Hopper