December 29, 2010

During their Tuesday evening meeting (Dec. 28) at the Hammond Central School library, the Hammond Wind Committee passed the controversial Residential Property Value Guarantee Agreement (RPVG) in a 9-1 vote. Committee member and wind leaseholder Michele McQueer cast the only dissenting vote. The agreement drafted by committee member Attorney Richard Champney in November, was reviewed over the past several weeks by all committee members who offered input and suggestions. Many members of the community also provided input which he took into consideration when making revisions to the document that was presented to the full committee. After a lengthy discussion, a motion was made by committee member Merritt Young and seconded by member Ron Papke. The revised Agreement included changes in Section 13: the Exclusive Option of Any Residential Property Owner Living Within Close Proximity (two miles) to a Wind Turbine where the property owner has a once in a lifetime right to be reimbursed for his real property and 5 acres surrounding that residence at the then Appraised Value if they follow the seven provisions listed in the document that include: Property owner must notify Guarantor within 90 days of issuance of Industrial Wind Farm permit; property owner must have been legal owner of real property at the time permit is issued; Property Owner and the Guarantor will enter into a 30-day cooling off period where property owner discusses entering into a Good Neighbor Program and if it is not possible, they will continue to complete the agreement application; Guarantor will consider relocating wind turbine out of a two-mile radius of the property owners residence; If property owner and guarantor have not reached agreement within 60 days the property owner orders a certified property appraisal that can be used as cost replacement value; If still no agreement, a second and/or even a third appraisal can be ordered which will then be averaged with the first to determine the final controlling value the property owner will receive as a buyout from the guarantor (wind company). This option cannot be used in conjunction with any future Guarantee of the Sale of a Residence.

In further discussion before moving on to the next issue, there was mention made of a Good Neighbor Agreement that Iberdrola representative Jenny Burke had just made available to committee members which apparently was offered as an alternative to the RPVG. In response to a question from a committee member, Ms. Burke commented that this agreement would apply to anyone living within 3000' of a wind turbine. Mr. Champney commented that a landowner could not apply for both agreements. He feels there is a lot to understand and he would be willing to provide a complimentary workshop for landowners to help them better understand the ramifications of a Good Neighbor Agreement.

The committee spent the remaining time discussing property management issues that included oversight of the wind project, decommissioning, and insurance and liability issues. Individual members accepted responsibility to draft proposals for the committee to review with regard to each of the issues and will be sharing those with members via email prior to the next meeting in order to be able to discuss and vote at the next meeting. The final discussion of the night revolved around the overlay district as members were looking for clarification on how it applies to the waterfront. Some members of the committee felt that rather than starting at Route 12 it should begin at the shoreline. This discussion will continue at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 4, 2010 at 7 PM in the Hammond School Library. Additional agenda items include: economics and tourism; setbacks; and environmental issues.