Will poperty values be gone with the wind?

The Big Wind industry will use studies and carefully massaged statistics to send a message to communities hosting “wind farms that there is no real loss of property value. Well, as wind leases continue to be signed throughout Seneca, Sandusky, Huron and Erie counties, let’s take a closer look before we get blown away.

Important to note that all the studies in this article were based on industrial wind turbines that were a maximum of 477 feet tall. Industrial wind turbines proposed for the Seneca, Sandusky, Huron and Erie counties will reach heights of up to 652 feet and possibly much higher than that in future phases of the projects.

The setbacks (how far a turbine can be from a property) were, in some studies, much further than the 1,125-foot setback now required by Ohio law.

Current Ohio setbacks (1,125 feet) are the lowest in the four-state region and significantly lower than other European countries from non-participating properties. Most states and countries require a distance of 3 times the turbine length for safety reasons.

Turbine blade throws are not uncommon. The turbines in Paulding County (290 feet) have had a blade failure. The 7-year-old turbines in Van Wert (467 feet) had a blade throw this past summer that traveled over 800 feet in conditions that did not include high winds. This past spring, a turbine blade was thrown in Hardin County Hog Creek Wind LLC (367 feet). These are just Ohio blade throws.

There are 4-5 homes within a mile of the Hog Creek Wind LLC based on filings at the Ohio Power Siting Board.

Based on reports filed at the Ohio Power Siting Board, there would be about 800 homes within a half mile of the turbines in the proposed Republic Wind LLC and a similar amount within the proposed Seneca Wind LLC.

Home values decline anywhere from 8 percent to 65 percent within a 2-mile radius of the turbines in a “wind farm.”

The median home value in Seneca County is $108,381; in Huron County, it is $129,856; in Erie County, it is $125,400; and in Sandusky County, it is $123,145.

If we take the lowest median home value of $108,381 (could this be why Big Wind decided to pick on Seneca County first) and factor a modest 25-percent loss, that would be $27,095 per home.

As these projects continue to wrap around Tiffin and Bellevue, there could be thousands of rural homes negatively impacted in each location (Tiffin and Bellevue).

The conservative estimated loss of property value within the Bellevue area alone could exceed $27 million!

Conclusion: The above estimate doesn’t take into consideration the increased insurance costs, burdened by leaseholders related to liability in the “wind farm” operation or further damage to home values in Good Neighbor Agreement-Wind Leases. Your county commissioners absolutely have the power to limit or stop these wind projects. Don’t let them throw you off like Shayne Thomas and Holly Stacy did for months to the residents in Seneca County. If your county is not in an alternative enervy zone, they can negotiate better property tax arrangements which may even deter the wind companies from continuing to pursue projects there. That has been the case in Hardin and Van Wert counties. Apparently, having turbines and being in an AEZ was not the “green dream” those counties thought they were buying into. Today, the counties of Hardin and Van Wert have rescinded their AEZ contracts and have repelled further wind project proposals for the good of all their residents.

Deb Hay,

Bellevue

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