By: Diane Benjamin
(This is part of a series being printed in the Lexingtonian Newspaper)
The Lexington-Chenoa area is being courted for a new wind project. Anyone on or near the proposed area needs to know the facts before signing contracts with the developers. Even if you aren’t approached to sign a contract, residents near the site need to know your property rights might be in danger.
The points below were compiled from various sources. All of them are from people intimately involved in past wind farm projects.
1) Tape or video ALL encounters with wind farm developers, especially in your home. Claims made to you can not be proven later without evidence. If the representative doesn’t want to be on the record, why would you trust them? Make sure somebody is taping all public meetings too.
2) If you are told not to talk to your neighbors for ANY reason – talk to your neighbors. Transparency will insure the rights of all parties are secure.
3) Older farmers and landowners are frequent targets of the developers. Make sure they are informed and not abused.
4) Never sign a contract without talking to a lawyer. These contracts can sign away your rights forever and are always written to favor the developers.
5) Rights to use your property may be in jeopardy because a turbine is located too close. An evacuation zone must exist around every turbine because of debris and fire hazards. Experts now suggest the zone should be ten times the height – the blade tip, not the tower height.
6) The evacuation zone must be measured from your property line, not the center of your house. If the property line is not used, a good portion of your property may become unusable because structures may be restricted in this zone. Even if you don’t have a turbine on your property, make sure local ordinances include your property rights. Don’t allow the developers to trespass on your property by making part of it UN-useable.
7) Refinancing your home may become a problem if you sign a contract giving tenants (wind farms) rights to your property. You may be required to obtain their permission from them before a bank will refinance.
8) Your insurance company may cancel any noise coverage.
9) Low frequency noise is causing people to leave their homes for health reasons. Wind developers will claim it can’t be proven, but they can’t prove it isn’t.