Wind turbines “adversely and measurably” impact property value

Sep 28, 2010

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Editor’s note:  The following document was furnished to WTS.com by Chicago professional real estate appraiser, Michael S. McCann, CRA.  Click here for the entire report and here for another of his reports.

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—Michael S. McCann, CRA
McCann Appraisal, LLC
Chicago, Illinois

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Summary

1. Residential property values are adversely and measurably impacted by close proximity of industrial-scale wind energy turbine projects to the residential properties, with value losses measured up to 2-miles from the nearest turbine(s), in some instances.

2. Impacts are most pronounced within “footprint” of such projects, and many ground-zero homes have been completely unmarketable, thus depriving many homeowners of reasonable market-based liquidity or pre-existing home equity.

3. Noise and sleep disturbance issues are mostly affecting people within 2-miles of the nearest turbines and 1-mile distances are commonplace, with many variables and fluctuating range of results occurring on a household by household basis.

4. Real estate sale data typically reveals a range of 25% to approximately 40% of value loss, with some instances of total loss as measured by abandonment and demolition of homes, some bought out by wind energy developers and others exhibiting nearly complete loss of marketability.

5. Serious impact to the “use & enjoyment” of many homes is an on-going occurrence, and many people are on record as confirming they have rented other dwellings, either individual families or as a homeowner group-funded mitigation response for use on nights when noise levels are increased well above ambient background noise and render their existing homes untenable.

6. Reports often cited by industry in support of claims that there is no property value, noise or health impacts are often mischaracterized, misquoted and/or are unreliable. The two most recent reports touted by wind developers and completed in December 2009 contain executive summaries that are so thoroughly cross-contingent that they are better described as “disclaimers” of the studies rather than solid, scientifically supported conclusions. Both reports ignore or fail to study very relevant and observable issues and trends.

7. If Adams County approves a setback of 1,000 feet, 1,500 feet, or any distance less than 2-miles, these types of property use and property value impacts are likely to occur to the detriment of Adams County residences and citizens for which the nearest turbines are proposed to be located.

8. The approval of wind energy projects within close proximity to occupied homes is tantamount to an inverse condemnation, or regulatory taking of private property rights, as the noise and impacts are in some respects a physical invasion, an easement in gross over neighboring properties, and the direct impacts reduce property values and the rights of nearby neighbors.

9. A market value reduction of $6.5 million is projected for the residential property located in the footprint and within 2-miles of the pending Prairie Mills project located in east Adams County.

  1. Comment by Jane Eggebeen on 10/01/2010 at 9:27 am

    Good Morning from Grand Haven, MI!

    We live a block inland from Lake Michigan, where a large windfarm is proposed in the lake. This year, we were able to successfully block two LWET’s onland near our home, and with 340 other homes within one mile. Our neighborhood group worked hard, battered our township officials with information and studies, including the McCann property values studies. We included much of it and the highlighted disclaimer in our final report. Thank you for that influencing and helpful report!

    My concern now is the uncertainty of whether our MI legislators, desparate to say they are providing jobs for the unemployed in our “broke” state, will legislate inappropriate guidelines for easier placement of wind turbines both on land and in our fresh water. A mandated RES would of course give even more support for that.

    Part of the public relations blitz to convince Michigan citizens that wind is “good” is West Michigan Wind Assessment, part of Grand Valley State University and MI Seagrant. They have a Facebook page. So far, they have issued their first “brief” using integrated assessment methods, to promote the “few and very easily mitigated” noise and health effects from wind turbines. Newspapers here highlighted the minimal existence of noise and health effects as noted in the study put forth by our own GVSU!

    Next, I’m told, they are working on a “brief” to “officially” deny any negative property value effects of nearby wind turbines. My reason for comment is this…. Would you please join us, in your expertise and first hand knowledge, in advising these writers, via Facebook (West Michigan Wind Assessment) or by phone (Erik Nordman, expert in forestry, member of the AWEA). Please.

  2. Comment by Mike McCann on 11/10/2010 at 10:51 am

    Jane,
    I would be happy to provide input to the researchers you note but, as their apparent pre-disposed position or goal may indicate, they certainly have not contacted me yet.

    Mr. Nordman or anyone else belonging to the AWEA will find my contact info all over the internet, if they legitimately seek information on property value impacts. Alternatively, feel free to cut and paste any of my published opinions onto their facebook page (I must be the last person in the US who does not use facebook).

    When their brief is available, please forward to me. I will review and determine if I am in a position to agree, disagree or rebut their information, methods or conclusion. However, in the meanwhile, Google Ben Hoen for his May 2010 Webinar update to the December 2009 LBNL property value study. See page 32 of the webinar slideshow…Mr. Hoen apparently now agrees with me that developers should use property value guaranteees (PVG) to mitigate against property value losses for the nearby neighbors. Being pro-wind and funded by pro-wind sources, he of course waters down my more detailed recommendations,…but his admission is a start, and groups like the one you mention should be aware of this off-set to the typical partial quote of the LBNL report.

    This is the best I can do to help without more information.

    Contact or forward info to me at: mikesmccaan@comcast.net

    Best wishes,

    Mike McCann

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