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The Vote Was No, But Residents Still Arguing Wind Project

April 4, 2012

Chris Blais stands to address village trustees to express her concerns with the Derby wind project. Photo by Laura Carpenter

DERBY LINE – At the Derby Line Annual Meeting Tuesday voters were asked if they support the proposed Derby Line Wind Project. Voters said no by a wide margin. However, only 33 people voted. The results were 24 no and nine yes by paper ballot straw vote. There are 401 registered voters in the village.
The chair of the board of trustees, Keith Beadle, is not sure if the vote reflects the true sentiment of village residents considering the low turnout. He thinks those who oppose something are more likely to be vocal than supporters.
He said the vote was advertised, but feels many villagers may be apathetic about village issues.
Beadle supports the project. He lives about a mile from the Grandview Farm and has Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that some say becomes worse from infrasound produced from large turbines. He is not concerned.
Beadle said people have genuine concerns, but he said its important to look long range at energy.
Article 16 of the annual village report asked: "What is the Village of Derby Line’s opinion on the erection of the two wind towers on the Grandview Farm, and Smugglers Hill Farm just east of the Village?"
The article was amended to say that the voters direct the trustees to engage the Derby Select Board and the Public Service Board to voice the consensus of the village. A resident reiterated that the village does not support the project.
Several residents expressed strong opposition, while others voiced concerns about the fast pace of the project. Only a few voiced support.
Two residents said they heard that Bryan Davis is building a house elsewhere and is moving away from his current location at Grandview Farm.
Davis was not at the meeting, however, Davis confirmed Wednesday in a phone interview that he is in fact looking into building a new house on his land either on Nelson Hill Road or on Herrick Road. His plan is to give his son Jeremy and his daughter-in-law Jen his farmhouse so Jeremy can continue farming without the commute he currently has.
“I’m not moving to get away from the turbines,” Davis said. If he does move to Nelson Hill Road, he will look into putting a large turbine on his land there as well. Bryan Davis’s parents and other family members live around the Grandview Farm and plan to stay, he said.
“I’m not going to fund their retirement on my health," said Daria MonDesire at the annual meeting.
Mondesire is concerned about potential health effects from the turbines. She also said that the turbines are not generating power at all times, only about 30 percent of the time. “These things are mammoths… Taller than the Statue of Liberty.”
Burton (Pete) Jacobs said there are too many questions. “They don’t belong on our mountains, and they don’t belong on our flat lands.”
Encore has mentioned paying the village $15,000 a year for 20 years as a type of "good neighbor policy."
“That just bribery. Sounds like they’ve bought you off,” Jacobs told trustees.
Trustee Roland (Buzzy) Roy denied the claim.
Trustee Perry Hunt called the offer an insult, saying it was way too low.
Jacobs said that farmers lease their land for the turbines and enjoy the payments received from the developers, but said that the turbines are too tall and affect everyone around them.
Bryan Davis would not disclose the payments he will receive.
Dick Fletcher stressed his concerns over potential health effects and property values. He read from the Bruce McPherson study done in Falmouth, MA, where several people living near a large turbine reported feeling sick. He quoted other studies and news reports. He noted that he and his wife are not opposed to renewable energy sources.
Beadle says he’s not buying into all the alleged health effects.
Fletcher offered to have him listen to people’s stories and go to Falmouth with him to investigate what is occurring there.
Chris Blais said, “This is a catch-22.” She knows the need for renewable energy sources, but said it should be done in a responsible manner. If people get sick from this, who is going to pay - the developer? She asked.
Bethany Creaser of Derby Line lives near the Grandview Farm and said she supports the project.
Derby Line was granted intervener status in the PSB proceedings. The village has not hired an attorney and expressed concerns over the cost of an attorney and experts. Derby Town also has intervener status and has hired an attorney for the process. The attorney is currently working on a contract between the town and the developer.
Village Clerk and Derby Select Board member Karen Jenne encouraged those present to attend a select board meeting and let their voices be heard.
Developer Chad Farrell is expected back to the select board meeting on April 16.
Bryan Davis said he hopes peoples’ questions are answered and that residents come to like the turbines.
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