Opinion: Protect Hopkinton from similar wind farm fate, says Parishville resident
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 7:57 am

To the Editor:

Feb. 12 I attended the Hopkinton Town Board Meeting. Attendees were given an opportunity to express their opinions regarding the proposed industrial wind project. For the most part, people on either side of the issue were very respectful, with the exception of one gentleman in the audience.

He stated that although he doesn't live in the Town of Hopkinton, his wife's family has owned a camp in Lake Ozonia for 50 years. He added that he gets a tax bill each year and, "about" every 2-3 years, it is reassessed, and every year the taxes go up.

Whether or not our property is located in Lake Ozonia, we all receive land and school taxes yearly. All of our assessments increase over time, unless buildings/dwellings are removed. I took it upon myself to look up his taxes for property owned in Lake Ozonia, and discovered his taxes have actually decreased since 2013.

"If you own a camp in Lake Ozonia, you have no fire protection" -- "well, you really don't, because by the time the fire department gets there, every [expletive] thing is going to be burnt down anyways," he stated.

I would like to state emphatically that Hopkinton (and every other small town in upstate New York), has an extremely dedicated volunteer fire department. They go through extensive yearly training, dedicate countless hours, and place their own safety in jeopardy in order to save us and our personal property.

Based on his comments, he clearly does not care about the possible harmful effects to which non-participating property owners may be exposed. (Remember, Lake Ozonia is located within the Adirondack Park and, as such, residents will not have industrial turbines in their immediate vicinity - at least for now.) They will, however, have the negative visual impact which may lower their property values or their ability to sell, but their health will most likely not be impaired, nor (hopefully) will their water source be compromised.) He has no compassion for the people who will suffer from the noise, shadow flicker, blinking lights, lack of sleep, and associated health issues.

This gentleman further admonished the town by stating, "You have to look ahead. Nuclear power is not an issue. (Meaning?) You'd better think twice about what you are doing here. No one wants to dam up any rivers any more. What are your alternatives? I say, put your wind turbines up. It's a very smart thing to do."

Does this gentleman not realize that we all receive our power from hydro dams? St. Lawrence County is already an exporter of clean, reliable, renewable, and truly green energy that is generated right here in our local communities. This project will not benefit anyone except leaseholders and the rich and powerful "well-heeled" individuals of Long Island and New York City.

While I am extremely sorry to shatter his dreams, if he had taken a little time to conduct some actual research, he would already know that very seldom do people experience a decrease in their taxes due to the development of an industrial wind facility. Even a neighboring town supervisor admitted that property taxes did not go down once their project was in place. And that town is not the exception to the rule. The exception to the rule is Lowville -- the Maple Ridge project to be more specific. But what people fail to understand, is that Iberdrola was able to take full advantage of Empire Zone Tax Credits -- a now defunct state-funded program. Once the few remaining funds from the Empire Zone Tax Credits Program are completely depleted, that's when we need to take a closer look at what those communities are really going to receive in compensation for what they have truly lost. I predict they will be absolutely shocked by their new reality.

Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to save Lowville from the predicament they are facing. We can, however, protect ourselves from a similar fate.

We don't want to look at or hear turbines, and we certainly don't want to risk our health and safety or the health and safety of our environment. Iberdola: Go away.

Lori Witherell