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Blog :: 06-2010

Chimney Hill Wind Turbine Proposal

This blog/forum is for the sole purpose of supplying information to the Chimney Hill membership concerning a proposed wind turbine project. Owners are encouraged to post their comments at the bottom of this page, but please only post comments that relate to the project. Chimney Hill reserves the right to remove any post that is not related to this project.

A Turbine Q&A is available below, which may also answer some of your questions. Other documents are posted below relating to specifics about the project and concerns raised at the informational meeting that was held on April 16, 2011. Finally, you'll see a video of a bird's eye view of the proposed site location, also below.

We hope that you will find this information informative, thought provoking and adequate for you to make an informed decision concerning this project.

-- UPDATE: May 12, 2011. An open letter from Scott Jezek --

Chimney Hill Wind project Presentation


Acoustical Society of America - Low Frequency Sound and Infrasound from Wind Turbines

Berkeley Nat lab wind and property values study 2009

Dialight Beacon Brochure with Light Scatter Photometrics

Windmill Effects on Property Values - 2006

Windmill Effects on Property Vaules, part 2

Searsburg Public Acceptance Study

Low Frequency Sound and Human Health

Electrical Line Configuration

UPDATE: May 13, 2011. Wind Energy at Mount Wachusett Community College


  1. Dave Ackert on

    Thanks to Ken and the Board for bringing this opportunity to the community. Great job and very nice touch creating this blog to facilitate conversation and learning.....and launching it on Earth Day seems especially fitting! The development of Chimney Hill is reputed to be the event that resulted in the creation of VT Act 250 to help protect the environment. This wind turbine is a wonderful opportunity to help change CH's reputation...to lead by example with renewable, clean energy and leaving a more sustainable, environmentally friendly footprint for our children. The revenue generation is the cherry on top. Our house is pretty close to the turbine site, and we proudly support it.
    • Sheldon Goldstein on

      This is a terrible idea. I am in agreement with all of the dissenting opinions, I won't repeat their comments. I can't believe that the Board is even proposing this project to the membership to bring in $30,000 a year. Is this a pilot project and is Chimney Hill is going to become a wind farm? There will be costs involved which the owners should consider. Because of illness in my family, I haven't been able to get much use out of my house. I was planning to put my house up for sale this summer and was considering listing with Chimney Hill. I have one of the biggest homes in Chimney Hill and it's not too far from Lightning Ledge. If this project is being considered I wouldn't bother listing my home, no one will buy it while this is pending. I believe this will be true for all of Chimney Hill, there will be no real estate sales and we will lose that commission income. In addition I can guarantee there will be legal expense. If you agree with the owners who oppose this project please email me at shellyvt1@yahoo.com and we'll organize to fight this. Chimney Hill is not an industrial park. We don't want windmill and the kind of electric cables needed to bring this power to the grid. We all bought homes and property in a recreational, residential community. Lets keep it that way. Thank you Sheldon E. Goldstein
      • edythe darnell on

        I am proud to be part of such a forward-looking community. I heartily support this new endeavor. Edythe Darnell B53
        • Chris Carusone on

          I'm also happy that this blog was created. I don't know a lot about turbines (pros and cons) and hopefully this site will give me the information I need to make an informed decision. I'm unable to attend the meetings because of my work schedule and this will keep me up to date. I do have one question though. Where will these turbines be located?
          • Ken Spicer on

            Chris, The proposed site is above Lightning Ledge Way, Upper Dam Road and Reservoir Lane. WE hope to have a site plan posted to this site soon to give people a better idea of location and proximity to properties.
            • Tom Lapierre on

              I am very glad that our community is taking a look at cleaner ways to enjoy life.We are very fortunate to have an association that keeps us all in the loop. I am encouraged by the project as long as it has no negative effects on anyone's investments to our community.It is nice to see the membership embracing ideas like this and setting an example for not only our community, but the state and nation we are all part of.
              • Mike Serafino on

                We are writing to express our concern over the proposed wind turbine in Chimney Hill. While we applaud the Board for attempting to seek alternative revenue sources for the Association, this is not the way to do it. Our concerns center on several issues. First,as of this writing no impact studies are being done prior to signing a contract to proceed. This is not a good approach because once the deal is signed, post contract studies will not have the same influence. Second, the quality of life for those Chimney Hill residents closest to the turbine will in some way be impacted. This in turn affects us all. Those living in the Lightening Ledge area are our neighbors and friends and it is unfair to ask them to shoulder this burden. There are two new houses about to be built in that area. Is it fair to them? The majority of Chimney Hill residents are at this point unaware of how this project will affect our whole community because they haven’t done any homework on what the impact might be. Third, the financial benefit to CHOA is of dubious value. Yes, $30,000 per year is quite a bit of money over 20 years. But on a per home basis, per year, the amount is quite negligible. We will go on record right now as saying that we will support a dues increase or even an assessment of some sort over the proposed turbine. We have heard the same sentiments expressed by other residents. We have had a home in the B section for 23 years and have always valued Chimney Hill as a family friendly community that provides respite from day to day life. The wildlife, relaxation and beauty are the reasons we love coming here. Neighbors have always looked out for one another and this case is no different. With a turbine project we will have potential issues impacting property values, financial investment, wildlife, health, safety and aesthetics. While it may be true that some homeowners will be affected more than others, we will all feel the impact in some way. We ask you to accept our comments as a resounding ‘NO’ to the turbine project. We urge you to slow this process down. Regards, Michael and Patricia Serafino B116 #11 High Top Road
                • peter grabowski on

                  Yes, thanks to all for exploring new technologies and for giving us a forum to discuss ideas and concerns. To me this project really boils down to an industrial land use lease. Alteris and the investor probably stand to gain much more than $30k annually. In my business, we must obtain, and fairly assess, bids from 3 different vendors before we can sign contracts. Have we looked at other solutions? Also, a fixed number for an energy commodity seems crazy. With nuclear power being scrutinized more closely, who can predict how much 'value' this electricity will have in future? If our community wants to pursue alternative energies, let's set aside funds today and deal as an equal partner in future. I am willing to pay an additional annual fee for this purpose. My vote is a "NO" Peter Grabowski CHOA #89
                  • Bob Hurwitz on

                    I find it hard to believe that Chimney Hill would even consider doing this for a meager $5 a month savings per household. Maybe, if we were doing this so the residents had substantial energy savings, and clean energy at that, I would be onboard, but after reading that the savings are $60 per year I would rather write my check out for the $60 and save all the time and energy of a debate whose outcome will no doubt leave some residents very disappointed. The potential downside seems to dramatically outweigh the meager upside.
                    • Chris Del Bene on

                      I am pro green both in theory and in action (my home is lined in solar lights and i have the  most energy efficient heating/cooling system available on the market today).  However, i don't feel this windmill is the right approach.  I commend Ken for his initiative, but this project is moving WAY too fast with little or no research. Are we really considering a 325 foot tower on our hill?  To put it in perspective... TWICE as tall as the STATUE OF LIBERTY . . a visual juggernaut from miles around. Vermont does not allow billboards in the ENTIRE STATE in an effort to preserve natures beauty.   Chimney Hill is supposed to be our retreat back to nature... the Vermont way.  Yet we're proposing the TALLEST STRUCTURE IN THE ENTIRE STATE.  The Bennington Monument holds the current title at 306 feet.  Are we really  looking to put up a tower 19 feet taller in our own back yards?  This is a record I have no wish to hold. Speaking of visual, the representative from the windmill company attended our meeting with a beautiful powerpoint presentation.  There were over 10 pictures of picturesque windmills... ALL of which were HALF the height of the proposed windmill for Chimney Hill and nowhere near houses.  This is more than a bit misleading. Why did he not show us ONE picture of the proposed windmill?  Was it too big to fit on the screen?  I felt quite misled at the meeting where not one true visual was presented and no rebuttal was forthcoming when I asked about it. My vote is a resounding NO.
                      • ROSA & JOSE PERCEVEJO on

                        Our home is on Upper Dam Road. We will be one of the homes most impacted by the windmill. We purchased this second home because of the beauty and peacefulness of the area. Although we are in favor of green energy, we do not believe that the $30,000 a year is anywhere near enough to warrant having a big metal "fan" hovering over the hill. We will be voting "NO" Rosa & Joe Percevejo Lots 466&467
                        • Andrew and Donna Wasserman on

                          We agree with the comments of Jon Del Bene of April 23, and others on this blog opposing the wind turbine project. We echo their comments and would like to add some additional thoughts. In our view, there are more than enough credible reports by reputable people to demonstrate that large wind turbines can have a materially detrimental impact on property values, wildlife and the health and well being of nearby residents. These reports should not be ignored. And while it is true that developers can point to reports designed to minimize claims of bad health and lost property value, one need not fully and finally resolve these questions in order to conclude that Chimney Hill should reject the turbine project. The bottom line is, once the turbine is built we are stuck with it for at least the next 20 years. In light of the legions of reports on the negative impact these huge machines have on nearby residential properties one ought to conclude that the credible risk that these detrimental effects might manifest themselves at Chimney Hill far outweighs any potential benefits of building the turbine here. In our view, there is more than enough evidence to cause sufficient concern to not take the gamble, because if we gamble and lose we are stuck with serious and irreversible problems in Chimney Hill for at least the next generation. There will be no turning back. The potential upside is just too small and the downside risk is just too great. We looked for a home in the Mt. Snow area for many years before settling on what we thought was the perfect place for us here in Chimney Hill. That was in November 2009. Had Chimney Hill been seriously considering allowing the construction of a 300 foot wind turbine back then (and were we aware of it) we absolutely would have crossed Chimney Hill off our list of places to look. We would not have bought here and if the turbine is built and the troublesome effects manifest themselves I imagine we will be forced to sell, and to sell at a discount. We love Chimney Hill and applaud the Board for exploring alternative and creative ways to generate revenue. We also appreciate the Board setting up this blog to allow people to voice their concerns. We feel that in light of the well-documented reports that large wind turbines can have a detrimental impact on the health, well being, enjoyment and property values of those nearby, Chimney Hill simply can’t afford to take the risk. We oppose the project and urge the Board to vote against pursuing it.
                          • John Kim on

                            I would like to thank Ken and the Board for opening their minds and seeking alternative ways to generate revenue while helping the environment. I attended an annual meeting a couple years ago where there was much discussion about the Associations financial state. There was concern about the declining economy, softening real estate market and rising energy costs. At that time I (and I assume there were others) e-mailed Ken to seek alternative revenues like this. Wind turbines provide a tremendous amount of energy from nothing more than just wind (something we all know is prevalent on Chimney Hill). The proposed turbine will generate energy equivalent to that required to power all of Chimney Hill. We are all major consumers of energy. That requires higher production from power plants (fossil or nuclear). These power plants are getting larger and new ones are being built closer to our homes. These power plants have a major impact to our environment and safety. Everyone is entitled to their opinion in regards to aesthetics. I for one enjoy the view of a turbine farm. I drive by the Searsburg turbines a few times a year just to see them turning. It is amazing to think that the 11 turbines in Searsburg provide power to almost 8,000 homes. In that past couple years I have driven up to the Searsburg turbines. From Rt 8 you can't really hear the turbines. Maybe this spring I will hike up the access road and hear for myself the real impact of the turbines. As for the fee, the $30,000 is an attractive amount, especially since there is no out-of-pocket for CHOA. I would like to know a little more about the fee. Especially if the turbines generates more power than expected, or if energy prices skyrocket in the next 20 years. In addition, is there any provisions to adding more turbines beyond this one? According to the documentation, the Searsburg turbine farm could be increased to 22. (I don't know where that effort stands). I believe that CHOA should continue their effort to investigate the viability of installing a wind turbine. Hopefully that information will be shares with all homeowners. I for one will continue to monitor this blog for more information.
                            • Ken Spicer on

                              Thanks to all the members who have posted comments and concerns to date. One item that I feel needs addressing is the potential revenue to CHOA. The $ 30,000 per year number was based on low end preliminary projections submitted by Alteris. If the membership feels that continued exploration of this project is warranted, by the non-binding vote at Annual Meeting, more information and options concerning revenues to CHOA will be available including a set set per year payment (not related to energy produced)and even CHOA being the developer of the project. I think the key question should be would you be in favor of this type of project or not, regardless of the amount of money generated.
                              • Ken Spicer on

                                Right now the project is just for one turbine, no additional turbines have been proposed or discussed. Again, thanks to all those who have taken the time to post their comments and concerns; all great stuff and keep them coming.
                                • Chris Edmonds on

                                  This proposed project is generating thought provoking concepts and insightful analysis as shown in these great comments. I am in favor of "green" concepts and am applying them wherever they make sense. I too thank Ken for raising this possibility. My concerns mostly apply to the noise levels to be generated. In many places where wind turbines have been set up there is much more ambient noise to "mask" the turbine noise. We do not have much ambient noise in Chimney Hill - which is a large part of the appeal of spending time here. I've had the luxury of spending a lot of time off the coast of Maine on Hurricane Island, just south of Vinalhaven Island (about 10 miles offshore of Camden, Maine). Vinalhaven is a community like Chimney Hill in that there is not a lot of ambient noise on an island 10 miles off the coast of Maine. A new wind turbine was started up in the Fall of 2009 on Vinalhaven. If you google "vinalhaven wind project noise" you'll find a number of newspaper articles and comments from residents who were previously in favor of the project. That wind turbine is in violation of the State of Maine noise standards but the residents have needed to institute legal action to have those standards enforced. I found the following article to be helpful in disclosing that it is not just older technology wind turbines that are generating excessive noise. Hopefully, better technology will be found in the future to cure this problem but I would be opposed to signing a long term lease for Chimney Hill without further study, testing and guarantees that are not currently available. Chris Edmonds The Fox Island Wind Turbine has just started up this last month on Vinalhaven and already the people are having their eyes opened. Remember once the turbines are on, then "The Guy" who said there won't be any noise will just chuckle and walk away...he doesn't care! Here is a passage from Kennebec Journal ( The last line is sad in that they learned the ugly truth the hard way): But not everyone on the island agrees. The turbines rise out of the interior of the island, a few miles away from the more heavily populated areas. Up close on a recent day, a low mechanical sound could be heard from inside the tower, and a faint "whooshing" sound could be heard as the blades slowly turned. "Depending on the wind direction, they can be very noisy," said Bill Haley, an Aroostook County native who's lived on Vinalhaven for 18 years. "The people who live around them are not happy." The nearest tower is a couple of hundred yards from his house. He and his wife can hear the turbines inside on some days, even with the windows closed. It's sort of like hearing the Maine Turnpike or the Portland Jetport in the distance. While that may not sound like much to city dwellers or suburbanites, it's a different story for people who have been accustomed to hearing nothing. "This used to be a nice quiet little island," said Haley. "(Now) it's quiet for everybody else ..." The turbines began turning for the first time right around Halloween, said Cheryl Lindgren and her adult daughter Britta Lindgren, who live less than a mile from the turbines. The Lindgren family moved to Vinalhaven in 2000, after vacationing on the island since 1973. They have extensive gardens and raise goats and ducks. The ducks have been off their feed since the turbines began spinning, said Britta Lindgren. The Lindgrens said the noise can be more intrusive then they were led to believe it would be. The noise is constant, said Britta Lindgren, like a jet passing overhead, "but it never passes." And there's an odd pressure in the air, indefinable, like low-frequencies that have begun since the turbines started. Both Britta and Cheryl Lindgren said they supported the project, and are supportive of alternative power in general. They knew their environment would change, they said, but didn't think they'd be affected so much. http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/7106712.html
                                  • Chris Edmonds on

                                    Here are other links and an article that I meant to include documenting that after the wind turbine was installed, the neighbors have spent thousands of their own dollars to have the State of Maine enforce its own laws. Note that the Maine decibel level is 45. http://www.kjonline.com/news/Consultant-says-Vinalhaven-wind-turbines-too-noisy.html http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/energy-environment/06noise.html New noise complaint by neighbors filed against Vinalhaven wind turbine farm On Friday, the Fox Islands Wind Neighbors filed the additional complaint based on acoustic measurements in early November. The State of Maine has delayed ruling on their earlier noise complaint registered in July. November 22, 2010 in Fox Island Wind Neighbors Neighbors of the Vinalhaven wind farm filed a second formal complaint with Maine DEP against the local operators of a controversial wind turbine farm on the island in Penobscot Bay, Fox Islands Electric Cooperative and its affiliate, Fox Islands Wind, LLC. Since the commissioning of the wind farm in November 2009, neighbors' lives and property values have been severely impacted by turbine noise exceeding state law. When local officials ignored their complaints, neighbors undertook the arduous process of evaluating acoustics from the turbines; acquiring the expertise, measurement techniques and expensive equipment and undertaking costly analyses to document violations of the state noise standard. Neighbors have spent tens of thousands of their own dollars in an effort to get the local utility simply to obey the law. The controversy has attracted the attention of national media including front page stories in The New York Times, Boston Globe, and AP. Meanwhile the utility has done nothing to alter a pattern of violations of state law. On Friday, the Fox Islands Wind Neighbors filed the additional complaint based on acoustic measurements in early November. The State of Maine has delayed ruling on their earlier noise complaint registered in July. At that time, the culmination of six months of complaints and documented data caused the state DEP to negotiate a "protocol" requiring citizens, at their own expense, to meet scientific measurement baselines in order to challenge the local utility. Despite the fact the DEP consultant Warren Brown found a "significant body of meteorological and sound data" which supports neighbors claims that Fox Island Wind is not operating within DEP noise regulations, the State of Maine has not made a final determination. A decision by Maine DEP on the earlier complaint is expected on Tuesday this week. The neighbors allege that during the planning of the Vinalhaven wind turbine farm, the local utility officials, including ex-Harvard Business School professor George Baker, knew noise could be a serious issue and failed to inform neighbors. Today, the neighbors are concerned about political interference by interests who are running into stiff headwinds for new turbine permits in New England because of increasing citizen concern about poorly regulated noise impacts. Web link: http://www.fiwn.org
                                    • Jon Del Bene on

                                      This below link is worth clicking on. It references what happened a few years back when one of the Searsburg turbines experienced a "catastrophic failure" and exploded, throwing metal hundreds of feet and leaking 20 gallons of oil. Just thought it may be appropriate to get exposure to every possible risk involved. The Chimney Hill sight has been targeted due to the high winds/harsh weather. While this is a positive for wind energy, it does pose potential risks to the environment and personal safety. http://www.windaction.org/releases/18394
                                      • Chris Geoghan on

                                        I AM IN SHOCK AND ALMOST SPEECHLESS. It seems Ken Spicer and the board of directors are ready to throw the homeowners in the proposed area of construction which includes every home within a mile and a half of the site under the bus for $5 per month. Our home is located on Reservoir Lane. We purchased it 12 years ago. Prior to our purchase we rented for the season. What we loved the most was the peace, tranquility, aesthetics and LACK OF NOISE. We were told the area behind and above our home was common land and could never be developed. You would have to have your head stuck in the ground to even suggest this massive monstrosity erected 600 feet from many nearby homes won't have an overwhelming detrimental impact on property values, rental values, aesthetic AND OUR HEALTH. I can't imagine hearing a CONSTANT AWFUL HUM 24/7/365. Is the board, Ken Spicer, the association and the corporation owning and operating this polluting monstrosity prepared to make all the affected homes owners financially whole in the very real possibility we suffer devastating financial losses? I certainly hope so. We purchased our home in Chimney Hill so we could get away from this type of pollution. Since we have an excutive diriector and board of directors moving against virtually every home owner within a mile and a half of the proposed construction site with lightning speed, we should immediately from a legal defese fund. Does anyone know of a law firm with the expertise to save our way of life on Chimney Hill and prevent potentially devastating financial losses to literally hundreds of homes? Remember even if you think your home is far enough away from the proposed construction site, when the wind starts blowing down the hill you will be affected by the noise! Not to mention always having to see the tallest structue in Vermont in all our view. Chris Geoghan, 631-472-5000, chris@geoghanagency.com
                                        • John Kim on

                                          This is all good information that you are posting. This is the reason for this forum. Does anyone know if Vermont/Wilmington have similar noise ordinance? Under what conditions do the turbines make the most "noise/hum"? Turbines have parameters under which they operate (wind speed needs to be within a certain parameter), can we write in the contract additional restrictions? Keep up the comments and information, we are all learning!
                                          • Yukari Saegusa on

                                            I was not able to attend the additional meeting when Alteris presented. Ken - can you tell me who owns Alteris and how they finance the company? I did some preliminary research and it seems that they are owned by a private equity firm. What happens if Alteris goes under, as many renewable companies have done? Also are there any wind studies to prove that they can generate enough power? Finally, the concept of selling the power back "to the grid" -- will the power generated by the turbine be sold to GMP? and is net-metering a concept that is approved by the Vermont PSC? I read above that the power will be bought by a "confidential investor". I don't feel there is enough detailed information to make an informed decision. I read the additional materials and to me, there is not enough information about Alteris, its financial position, etc. And finally, how was the figure of $30K negotiated? What were the comps you used to get to that number with Alteris?
                                            • Ken Spicer on

                                              Again, Thanks to all who have posted comments. It is very important to note that the Board is not trying to "move against the homeowners" concerning this proposal. The current project presented is just a proposal that has been presented to the membership. This is why we have sent out notices and information, held an informational meeting and created this blog/forum. The non-binding vote at Annual Meeting and the comments received by the membership will help the Board determine if this proposal warrants further consideration.
                                              • Mike Serafino on

                                                This is in response to people who asked about the Searsburg turbines. There was a group that fought against the turbines for reasons of health, safety and environmental impact but they eventually had to give up as they ran out of money for legal fees. It is currently in the works to clear another 80 acres at Searsburg for 7 - 8 more turbines! Hope this helps.
                                                • ROSA & JOSE PERCEVEJO on

                                                  This weekend we took a ride to Searsburg to take a look a turbines and to hear or not hear for ourselves. From the parking lot on route 8 there was a definite humming noise. I do not know if the turbine on chimney hill would make as much noise since in Searburg there are several turbines. However, It was not comforting to see that the home closest to the parking lot had a "For Sale" sign on it.
                                                  • rob and melissa auletti on

                                                    We, as home owners in Chimney Hill, are very thankful to Ken and the board for looking at ways to offset operating costs. As a family, we are also very supportive of reducing our carbon footprint and leaving a cleaner planet for our children. For that reason, we were very eager to attend the April 16th meeting and learn more about the proposed wind turbine. I must say, we were disappointed. The representative for Alteris, although very cordial, had mostly vague, nonspecific answers to the many concerns of the members in attendance about THIS turbine, in THIS location. We were shown a presentation showing turbines half of the size in locations nothing like chimney hill. We went to look at the turbines in Searsburg. The enormity of these machines are undeniable. The proposed turbine in chimney hill is almost double in size to the Searsburg turbines. A hike around the site proved the flicker and noise are substantial. We can not subject our family to living in the shadow of such an enormous industrial machine. Research shows that the negatives far outweigh the positives of turbine placement close to homes in residential areas. Many medical studies have proven health and mental issues, not to mention the dangers of ice throw and catastrophic failure. The decline in real estate value is inevitable to all chimney hill homes. The speed of this proposed project seems reckless. Will giving more time for proper research create more opposition? Do not be naive! Do your research and make an informed decision. This will change chimney hill forever!! We vote "NO" please check out the links below
                                                    • rob and melissa auletti on

                                                      • rob and melissa auletti on

                                                        • Bill and Linda Evasick on

                                                          My wife and I own lots 398 and 399 on Lightning Ledge Way, 608 feet from the proposed Turbine site. One of the closet sites to the project. With all do respect to my fellow association memebers my wife and I feel that this project impacts us directly and would cause economical and health risks. We are ready to start construction on our house, now I ask my fellow neighbors, would you invest @$200,000 in a house on my lots. The Turbine builder planed on running the electrical line hook up to the pole in front of my house and plan to use the well road that runs next to my property for axcess.With all do repect I ask all those members that are for the project "would you be for it if it was in your back yard" Well it is not only in my back yard but on top of my house and family. I vote NO and and cannot believe that there are some members that seem not to care about the people like myself that are affected by this project more than others.
                                                          • Nils Behn on

                                                            Hello Everyone, I am the Director of the Wind Division for Alteris Renewables and am the one who presented at the club house meeting. I appreciate all of the thoughtful comments. I will attempt to clarify here a few questions that have been brought up. 1) DISTANCE- As a response to the concerns raised in the meeting we have adjusted the location to be further away from the residences. There are now only 6 residences within 1000' of the turbine (previously 33) and the closest is now 863' from the turbine as opposed to 661' previously. 2) HEIGHT- Total proposed turbine height to the tip of the blades would be 345'. The height to the generator at the top of the tower would be 213' 3) FINANCIAL BENEFIT- A land lease agreement is one option however if the home owners association wishes to be a full or partial owner of the project this is an option as well and could lead to much higher revenue for the association. 4) INVESTOR- An investor has not been identified for the project yet. This will not be focused on until after CHHOA approval. 5) ALTERIS' ROLE- Our role is to provide EPC (Engineer, Procure, Construct) services. We are in this case also doing some preliminary development work to move what we see as a very viable project forward. 6) FUTURE SECURITY - Alteris is on a solid financial footing. We are owned by Riverside Partners of Boston MA which is well capitalized. The projects future stability is not dictated by Alteris' stability, but rather the stability of the investor/owner. 7) ELECTRICAL LINE- The electrical line modifications to the existing line entail adding three additional conductor to the pole in a diamond configuration roughly one foot from point to point. I will provide an example of what this looks like so Ken can post it here. SHADOW FLICKER- The location of the proposed turbine is to the North of all CH lots. We have generated a shadow plot for the turbine and determined definitively that there will be zero hours per year of shadow flicker on any lots. SOUND- Based on the third party acoustic analysis provided by the manufacturer we anticipate a sound level of no more than 44db at the nearest property. This does not account for the sound absorbing properties of trees. 44db is likely to be very close to the existing ambient noise level at the nearest residence. An acoustic study as part of the design and permitting process would be undertaken and would define this more precisely. ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: This turbine is estimated to offset the consumption of 744 Vermont homes. Please continue to post your questions and I will do my best to provide answers. Cheers, Nils Behn Alteris Renewables
                                                            • Lisa Moody on

                                                              I am adamantly opposed to this proposal. The purported cost savings would pale in comparison to the adverse effects on property values for homeowners. Why is that not being discussed? Let's put it this way: $5 savings per annum if the turbines go up versus thousands of dollars in lost property value? An easy call. The effort to save costs is appreciated; the consequences of this proposal - intended and otherwise - are not. I will work to defeat this proposal.
                                                              • Andrew and Donna Wasserman on

                                                                The information Alteris posted does not change our position at all. This project is too risky and if we move forward there is no turning back. If the noise turns out to be worse than Alteris claims, if the credible, well documented reports of infrasound, catastrophic failures and other health and safety hazards manifest themselves at Chimney Hill, we are all simply out of luck for good. There is ample credible support to justify these concerns. There is always going to be some third-party analysis to support a developer's position. It does not come close to persuading us that we should take the risk. I am sure everyone (or almost everyone) on this blog supports renewable energy. I know we do. That does not mean that giant wind turbines belong in residential areas. For us, it is never going to be a matter of haggling over exactly how much Chimney Hill gets paid or how it gets paid. We did not buy a place at Chimney Hill to become landlords to, or investors in, a wind turbine project -- especially one whose downside risk is losing the use and/or enjoyment of our home. I ask Alteris this: What if you are wrong? What if the terrible things that people are suffering through in other communities that took the gamble and lost manifest themselves here at Chimney Hill? What will you do for us? If we move forward, we are simply gambling with our health, safety and property values and we will have no remedy if we lose that gamble. Alteris will have no obligation to us and we will just be out of luck and out of homes. This is an easy decision for Alteris. If they build it and are wrong what then? We are absolutely against this project and we hope the other residents will stand firm in opposition as well.
                                                                • Dimitri Tzimas on

                                                                  It appears to me that we are fast tracking this Turbine Project for no good reason. This includes the call for a "straw vote" at the annual meeting. This project has the potential of polarizing our community. It will alter the Chimney Hill landscape, change our lifestyle, impact our property values and most likely lead to an endless cycle of lawsuits. And all that for a mere 30K per year. While I am sure the yet to be identified "unnamed developer" will profit handsomely, we all stand to lose a lot. I also feel that the board under-emphasized the negative issues associated with this project in its mailings to the community. There were no counter-points presented and the benefits of a turbine generator were exaggerated. Alteris has a clear conflict of interest in this project; relying on them for technical advisory services is hardly in the best interest of our community. I agree with Scott Jezek's open letter to the Chimney Hill community. I urge the board to send out a hard copy of Scott's letter to all CH members.
                                                                  • Jon Del Bene on

                                                                    Dimitri, I am unfamiliar with the Scott Jezek letter you are referring to. Can you explain. Ps. I completely agree with your comments. The more people I talk with in the community lately, the more I keep hearing about lawsuits if this goes forward. All of a sudden that $30,000 (which is insignificant) will be whittled down from lawyer fees. Would it be possible for you to post the Scott Jezek letter you are referring to? Thanks
                                                                    • Dimitri Tzimas on

                                                                      Jon Scott's letter is in the beginning of the this page by the blog moderator. Scroll to the very top of this page and click on the link "UPDATE: May 12, 2011. An open letter from Scott Jezek"
                                                                      • Andrew and Donna Wasserman on

                                                                        For ease of reference, here is Scott Jezek's letter referenced above: To the Members of Chimney Hill: I am concerned about the direction in which the wind turbine initiative is progressing. While I respect the board and know from my own experience it is a difficult job with competing priorities, I feel compelled to offer the following comments. For those of you that do not know me, I am a past president of our association and a board member for ten years. My wife and I have owned our home on Upper Dam Road for twenty three years. I have practiced law in Connecticut for more than thirty years. First, I do not think a straw or informal vote is appropriate at the annual meeting. I strongly oppose the vote because the most critical questions concerning the project were not answered at the April forum. To me, this suggests the membership maybe misled or complacent in considering this issue when if full facts and data were available, the vote might go in different direction. Alteris’s answer to the two most critical questions regarding health and life quality and property values was that information would be provided at a later date. So why is not the vote taking place after this information is received? I have direct experiences with cell towers as well as a familiarity with wind turbines and the legal, health, life quality, and property value issues related to them. There is no question but that wind turbines present a far more serious set of consequences. Until all information is made available and a meaningful hearing for the membership held thereafter (during a season when more members are present), any further action is premature and, in my opinion, not in the best interests of Chimney Hill owners. A straw vote under these circumstances could be interpreted an implicit endorsement of what is otherwise an ill conceived strategy. Second, the economics do not justify the risks. I base these comments on the data in CHOA’s Wind Turbine-Proposed handout and proposed 2011-2012 budget. Thirty thousand dollars, the anticipated revenue, is less than three percent of our income under the present proposed budget. Being conservative, apportioning that among just the homeowners, results in a savings of about sixty five dollars per owner. Do the risks associated with this endeavor justify a seven percent savings on the annual fee versus unknown health risks, quality of life issues and decreased property values? The minute a wind turbine is approved, if your home is near it, that seven percent increase would be a pittance compared to the loss of your property’s value. Has the board commissioned its own appraiser to assess the potential decrease in property values or is it relying solely on information from Alteris? Third, I represented a Connecticut municipality which rejected construction of a cell tower for reasons which included inability to insure the structure would be removed at the end of the lease term. Why is this a concern? Because the entities that construct, operate and maintain are a morass of corporations and limited liability companies whose collective abilities to remove such a structure are unknown. The technology which permits these structures in the first place is in its infancy and there is no bank of experience upon which to rely that demonstrates whether the decommissioning of these structures will take place as promised or that the owners will be left without recourse against shell corporations. Rights to cell towers and energy generation are sold, assigned, pledged, cross collateralized to the point where twenty years from now the parties to this transaction will likely be unrecognizable. How is our home owner’s association going to protect its membership under these circumstances? By relying on a straw vote without full information or disclosure? Fourth, I have read the operating documents for Chimney Hill and in my opinion a lease such as this is outside the scope of authority granted to the board and membership under any circumstance. I do not see how a non-existent source such as a wind turbine could be considered within the scope of authority when the technology did not exist when these documents were drafted. We do know that Chimney Hill is a residential, largely second home community dedicated to purposes consistent with such a community. In what section of our operating documents does the board find the authority to generate power? Must any of us be subject to the consequences of a wind turbine on Chimney Hill property? I came here for the tranquility, the dark night skies, bears, and mountains. I did not come for wind turbines or a night lit horizon. When I was on the board I led the fight to keep the by-pass out of our community. I also opposed the wind turbines on the ridgeline toward Bennington. I will do the same with the wind turbine on Chimney Hill property. I encourage the membership to oppose the wind turbine proposal permanently or at least until all of the questions are answered. Thank you. Scott Jezek
                                                                        • Pat Bragar on

                                                                          I Love the Idea Of Renewable energy sources for our future. HOW EVER,after alot of contemplation and review of information that was presented to us home owners,I believe that the chimney hill comunity may not be the best location for this project. It would be great if we were Guarantied Future energy discounts or caps on our energy rates. Instead we will simply become landlords of a Monster That once installed will never go away. This will be permenant structure in our envirnoment. I am Quessing that most of us Choose Chimney hill for our Mountian vacation homes because we love the envirnoment and the pristine land around us. Perhaps a Turbine of this nature would be better suited to a town that could build it without investor money and enjoy the benefits of a self sufficent energy source for the good of that town. I also think that We at Chimney hill would be giving up more then we could imagine at this point in time, I feel sorry for those owners who live close to this site if this project goes through. Lastly, We would be cheating ourselves with a annual revenue of Only $30,000. I think Rent 3 or 4 times greater then this amount would be more in line for a project of this magnitude that investors are willing to spend 5 million on.
                                                                          • Carlotta Gladding on

                                                                            I, too am opposed to this proposal for all of the reasons you have all posted. I am certainly interested in alternative energy but not when it can have so many detrimental impacts in residential areas. I think this project has moved too quickly and know that we will regret making a snap decision just so that we can fall within the deadline for the Vermont SPEED incentive which is in early fall, I believe. If this straw vote moves forward, then there will be a real vote sometime in July as I understand it. I have attended many very vocal town hearings on Cape Cod and Rhode Island there have been shouting matches between wind turbine investors and residents who have felt betrayal and frustration because what they saw on paper was nothing like what they imagined hovering over their properties. Whether it be the noise, both audible and "infrasound", vibration, the visual impact, their reduced property values, sleeplessness and headaches or even the displacement of wildlife, audiences voiced their long list of concerns. Some questions for Alteris: What if there is too much wind or not enough wind or frozen blades and the turbines cannot operate? How does that affect our revenue if it's based on a kilowatt hour? What if there is a mechanical breakdown and how soon and who will be responsible for maintenance? Will there be any hazardous materials on the site? Where will the aviation light on the tower be visible on "the hill" and will there be a balloon test? Where exactly on Route 9 will you be able to see the monster turbine interrupting the pristine view of Haystack ridge? How will the effectiveness of the turbine be monitored? When will we know who the investors are if the project is approved? Why isn't the setback 3X the height of the turbine which should be AT LEAST 1055' with NO HOUSES within that range? MOST IMPORTANTLY, what other projects has Alteris successfully completed of a 1.5 MW 345' turbine in a RESIDENTIAL AREA? ONE THING THAT WE DO KNOW IS WHAT WE DON'T KNOW, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT INVOLVES LONG TERM HEALTH, SAFETY AND EFFECT ON PROPERTY VALUES AS PERTAINING TO WIND TURBINES. Here are some interesting links: http://energizevermont.org/2011/03/rutland-herald-gmp-distorts-facts-on-searsburg/ http://saveourseashore.org/?page_id=155 http://saveourseashore.org/?p=1609 I believe someone already posted Nina Pierpoint's health article. I'm glad Scott's letter was reposted.
                                                                            • Sheldon Goldstein on

                                                                              Yesterday at the annual meeting, questioning of Nils Behn, the Alteris representative, disclosed the economics of the wind turbine proposal. Apparently an above market price guarantee by the State of Vermont for electric power generated for the estimated life of the turbine is the only reason this turbine could be built to generate a profit for the Limited Liability Company or Limited Partnership that will ultimately own it. Even with the guarantee, after Alteris receives it's fee and sells the project to investors, there will be a profit margin of approximately 15%. Out of this CHOA will receive it's rent, there will be taxes, maintenance, insurance and other expense, and the balance would be paid to the investors. Mr Behn admitted that payments should be made to those homeowners who would be most impacted by the project. When pressed for an amount he stated that maybe a $1,000 a year per owner, there wasn't enough money in the deal for more. He also waffled on representations he had made to the most affected homeowners regarding placing the initial electric wires underground, citing economic concerns. What this means to me is that there is no room for error in this deal. The ultimate owner will have no liability to anyone. Should there be an uninsured loss or other unexpected event, the investor could just walk away and leave us with the cleanup. I'm informed that the investor will not be able to obtain a bond to remove the turbine after it's useful life or a catastrophic event. CHOA could very well have to bear the expense of such removal. A majority of homeowners, mostly uniformed, since outside of the blog, only the presentation by Alteris has been disseminated to them, seem to be besotted with the green energy idea. There are all shades of green, some make sense, others don't. Wind power generated on a large scale by an operating company, in a commercially viable wind farm does. Sticking a single windmill in a residential area, to take advantage of a State subsidy, doesn't.
                                                                              • Sheldon Goldstein on

                                                                                Further to my earlier posting, I came across a letter to the editor of the Rutland Herald dated May 23, 2011 re Searsburg catastrophic turbine failure two years ago. It hasn't been cleaned up yet. Interesting discussion of the industry's inability to control the catastrophic failure problem and the attendant risk to nearby homes and people. Rutland Herald Opinion: GMP trashes turbine site May 23, 2011 No Comments by EV Justin Lindholm of Mendon had an opinion piece published in the Rutland Herald on Sunday. In the piece he discusses how GMP has left the Seasrburg site a mess more than two years after a turbine failed. You can see a scan of the article here or see the text below with pictures taken at the site. MY GOOD GOD! Right next to a constantly traveled service road between wind turbines at Green Mountain Power’s Searsburg wind turbine site, there is a huge turbine blade section, about seventy-five feet in length, and weighing several hundred pounds, which is totally suspended high up in a tree that it crashed into more than two years ago when one of the turbines had a catastrophic failure and blew apart. Another piece is dangling head high from another tree. And yet other large pieces lay on the ground on the other side of the road. I noticed this mess last Monday, after a representative of GMP directed me up this road to get to the top of the mountain. Does GMP have so little pride in this site that they don’t care to clean up after themselves? By creating a dump there, with junk hanging out of trees and scattered on the ground, they are showing a lack of care for environmental stewardship. If GMP wishes to berate me for being on this dangerous site, I would like to remind them that they are the ones who are ignoring the dangers there. With no response from GMP, I have been speaking to the public in print and in person for a long time now about the danger to surrounding homes resulting from catastrophic and explosive turbine failure. An industry paper says that engineers can’t seem to get a handle on this problem, which is mainly caused by massive vibrations traveling between blade tip and the base, stressing the turbine’s various parts. Europeans, which have far more experience than we do with wind turbines, have noticed parts flying as far as 8/10ths of a mile, some of which have crashed through roofs and walls at distant homes. Because of this problem, some compassionate and caring European officials are now requiring 1.25 mile setbacks of turbines from homes. How compassionate and caring are Vermont officials? Do the lives of Vermont families count as much as the lives of European families? And, does GMP care?
                                                                                • Dave Behnken on

                                                                                  I attended the meeting of May 28 mainly to hear the discussion relating to the proposed wind turbine. Unfortunately I had to leave at 1pm. I have, since the meeting, read very carefully the documents provided at the meeting and those provided prior to the meeting. I came to the meeting totally in favor of the turbine project, left with some concern, and my concerns substanially heightened after reading the input provided by Scott Jezek and Phil Bloomstein. However, there seems to be some disconnect between the existing systems sited and the proposed windmill at Chimney Hill. 1st ---- Clearly, a mill using a large, gearbox attop the tower is going to generate substantially more noise than the direct drive unit proposed. While I appreciate Altera's effort to provide noise data, measurements in terms of decibels are not particularly meaningful to me. It seems to me that a sound company could place a temporary sound system at the site, such as used at large outdoor gatherings and reproduce the sound of the proposed mill so that all concerned homeowners would be able to actually experience the sound produced at their homes. 2nd ---- I can't imagine a silently spinning windmill, almost a 1000 feet from one's home, being an eyesore. 3rd ---- As we all know, many young lives are being lost in various battles around the world and wether or not anyone cares to admit to it, these battles are all about OIL! If each barrel of oil was measured in terms of lives lost perhaps there would be a bit less opposition to this or any other sustainable energy project. 4th ---- Mr. Jezek is justifiabley concerned that the owners will be "a morass of corporations and limited liability companies" unable or unwilling to guarantee the removal of the mill at the end of it's useful life. In the proposal from the Owners Association, one of the advantages of being a SPEED project, is that 19 Vermont Utilities are actively trying to be owners of such projects. If we were to insist that a Vermont Utility be the only qualified owner/investor in our project would we not be gauranteed recorse in the future? I look forward to any and all comments on the above and will try to respond to anything I read on the Chimney Hill blog. In the meantime, I will keep an open mind as to my response to the final vote on the subject. I own a home on East Brook Crossing.
                                                                                  • Dimitri Tzimas on

                                                                                    The board and the community should NOT be relying on Alteris to provide an unbiased opinion on the various issues. They have a definitive conflict of interest which the board, as it appears, has chosen to ignore. As part of its required due diligence, the board should be engaging independent experts whose fiduciary obligations are to the Chimney Hill community.
                                                                                    • Steve Abramson on

                                                                                      I applaud and support the Board for all the excellent hard work they have done to keep our Chimney Hill community solvent and running smoothly, and providing an oasis for us to enjoy in peace, tranquility, and safety. I believe the wind turbine project is a creative way to raise money and contribute to our great and urgent need for alternative energy sources. I am a strong advocate for alternative energy because we are living in an unsustainable situation using fossil fuels that is leading to a significant warming of the planet with potentially catastrophic consequences. But the vitriol I heard at the Annual Meeting was really disturbing, and something I have never experienced in our 15 years owning a home at Chimney Hill. Although I voted in favor of going forward to at least hear more information about the project, I am compelled to advise the Board to consider not going forward. In particular, I read responses from Bill and Linda Evasick and from Rosa and Jose Percevejo who live or will live close to the site (apologies to anyone I missed who own near the site). Their voice is probably the most important of all. We cannot in good conscience force a decision on these CHOA homeowners--it is simply not fair. We just don't know enough about the risks and adverse impact on quality of life associated with a wind turbine so close to residential sites. All of the potential disasters noted in the blog are all possible, or, I just don't have enough information to make a completely informed decision. Other voices at the meeting give me the impression that legal action against going forward may be contemplated. I'm sure no one wants that, but it's a real possibility. So now I assume we will hear more on the project as more information comes in per the vote that was taken. Our community is just that and everyone has the right to be heard. Clearly there are many people very opposed to the project and for this to lead to a division within the community is not good for all of us. I would like to hear from an independent third-party voice on the risks/benefits of wind turbine near residences, with examples of where this has worked and not worked. Let's make a sober, nonemotional decision on the project where both sides give their opinion. Another open meeting should be conducted to allow those in favor and those opposed to be heard. I know this is more work for the Board but this issue is too important not to give it a full hearing. Steve Abramson B117, 7 Hightop Road
                                                                                      • Surinder Singh on

                                                                                        I am not expressing an opinion on whether or not a wind turbine should be installed at Chimney Hill but I am deeply concerned about CHOA making such a major decision without the proper due diligence. The board members of CHOA are exposing themselves to the potential threat of litigation by the manner in which they are pursuing the wind turbine project. This was certainly confirmed at the Annual Meeting where Alteris, a non-resident and non-owner at Chimney Hill and a conflicted third party, received yet another opportunity to market their project without allowing sufficient time for owners and residents to respond. CHOA board members have a responsibility to make decisions that do not potentially cause harm to ANY (not all) members of CHOA. There is no way the board can show that they are doing this by exclusively using data (marketing material) by a third party (Alteris) who has an inherent conflict of interest in getting this project done. In addition, to show that they are not acting irresponsibly as fiduciaries, board members must get at least one other competing bid. If they continue to push this project through with little to no due-diligence they could be held legally responsible for any problems that come up with this project going forward.
                                                                                        • Ed Tyerman Lot 920 on

                                                                                          I wanted to add that serious consideration should be given to chimney hill rentals. A portion of our income is provided from renters. I would have to think that their concerns over noise, safety and infrared health issues would have to match our own. Any potential renters would have to be worried about the turbine when selecting our available housing over others. A wind turbine would not even be a novelty to stay near and renters have to give way to more practical and realistic choices of where to stay. At risk is the income we generate from rentals. If we had even a slight drop off in rentals, would it take much to amount to $30,000? Could it be more? Might we be looking to narrowly at the issue - what looks to generate income might compromises the known sources of income we have in other areas. The reward in this case does not out match the risk. We can not go in this direction and must look elswhere.
                                                                                          • Silke on

                                                                                            Thank u for creating a frnildey atmosphere to show that we have been friends for a long time. It was such a great shoot and our friends are always asking what was so funny which kept me laughing again and again
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