Meeting Minutes : Select Board (Special)

Special Select Board Meeting

May 24, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 6:30PM by Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman.

Select Board members present:  Joseph Gagnon, Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Allen Hitchcock, Thomas Hooker and Jane Cornell.


This meeting was a presentation by Reunion Power to the Select Board and residents about its proposed wind power project.


Following the presentation by representatives from Reunion Power, members of the audience expressed the following questions and concerns, with responses from Reunion and others in italics:


  • Transportation of the materials.  These materials would be transported only during specified times, to be agreed upon by all involved parties.
  • Tourism effects from other states impacting roads and properties.  Vibrations from the turbines.
  • Number of turbines actually located in Pittsford?  Nine to twelve.
  • Historical significance of the Pittsford Bridge and artifacts – what happens to the project?  The State Historical Preservation reviews the site prior to construction to determine impacts. 
  • Wind power is wonderful – in its proper place.  The final decision is based on various factorsTurbines have become more efficient in the past yearsSize impact and location will be taken into consideration.
  • How short is the shortest tower?  300’ to the top of the tower – not including the turbine blade – the maximum height is 490’ to the top of the blade.
  • Have the landowners already been compensated?  Modest amounts have been paid to make written agreements legal (in terms of consideration) considered initially and additional payment will be based on power generation.  Tax money will be paid to host towns and approximately $420,000 will go to the State’s education fund annually.
  • Decisions should be based on what is right and not based on money involved.
  • Negative impacts on the environment, inefficiency, destruction of scenic views of the Green Mountains.
  • What insurance is there that this project/company will not go bankrupt like the last company?  Reunion is a stable and diversified company that has other income sources from other activities.
  • What can citizens do to ensure that there will be a vote on the issue?  The Town has received legal advice on this issue. There will probably not be a vote.  Chairman Pelkey read the information that was provided by Counsel and noted that the PSB has the final decision on the proposed project.  The PSB will be given the Town’s input. However, the PSB has the right to act at variance with Town input.
  • Is there a petition to the PSB that residents can sign?  There is a Citizens Guide to Act 248 available on the PSB website for residents to review.
  • The PSB is being depended upon to make the final decision and residents are encouraged to make their opinions known to the Representatives to the State as well as the Select Board.
  • Residents should visit a site that has been operational for “years” and not a proposed site to find out the actual impacts.
  • Will TV reception, satellite, or cell phone coverage be affected?    There have been experiments in the past concerning interruption of services by wind turbines and there may be more testing required by the PSB.
  • There is a large amount of electrical power currently being produced.  Why is there a need to make more?  This is based on supply and demand.  Future supply is uncertain but demand will likely increase.
  • CVPS is proposing increasing the generation of hydropower.  Why the need for wind power?  Wind power is an alternative source.
  • Vermont’s demand will increase only slightly over the next several years.
  • Wind power is generated using less carbon impact.
  • If VT Yankee closes, New England will be fine without the megawatts of power.
  • What will happen to the small amount of power that will be generated by the wind turbines?
  • The ridge beauty will be disturbed by the construction of the turbines.
  • How confident is the Town that we NEED this project?
  • There is a ridge in Manchester (where Reunion is located) that could be utilized.
  • Families have been in the area of the ridge for generations – who worked very hard – this tradition would end.
  • Do the turbines still turn when the wind is not blowing?  No.
  • Residents urged the Select Board to take a stand against the project.
  • A project on this mountaintop and to this scope will be of no good.
  • Property values will be permanently affected.
  • Electric bills will not be decreased.
  • The money will end up in the pockets of strangers and not benefit the residents.
  • Is Reunion going to pay for the health care costs of people who suffer as a result of the project?  Will there be a Property Value Guarantee?
  • What would happen in the event of a fire at 500’?
  • People that live in houses near the wind farms actually have felt their houses shake.
  • Health impacts up to 3 miles away have been known at previous sites.
  • History of the area will be disturbed.
  • Cell towers blend in and most look like trees.
  • Adverse effect from the construction and dynamite.
  • This is the toughest job for the representatives.  The decision affects all.
  • Where can you visit 500’ turbines?
  • The Green Mountain State will not attract tourists with the turbines.
  •  Utility Companies will be required to purchase up to 127.5 megawatts at a rate of 6 times the cost of traditional power, thus, giving Reunion a profit.  Currently, the utility companies are required to purchase 50 megawatts.  The increase will be required in the next 10 years.  How are these profits in the public good?
  • The health of Vermonters should be considered a “public good”.
  • Animals would be affected due to their more sensitive hearing.
  • Houses with older foundations will be affected due to the vibration of the bedrock.
  • Property sales have fallen through due to the possibility of a wind farm project being proposed.
  • New England has 33,000 megawatts of power on the grid.
  • Why upset people by proposing miles and miles of destruction?
  • What happens to Reunion’s payment to the Education Fund? Does the State’s General Fund raid this Education Fund money?
  • Aviation lights flicker all night.
  • In order to maximize chances that PSB will reject the project, residents should press the Town Planning Commission to revise the Town Plan to more explicitly prohibit wind towers on particular ridges and to delete any reference to the Town’s support for renewable energy.
  • Project will harm migratory birds, bats.
  • Why no site plan yet?
  • Why no visual depictions of proposed turbines yet?





Respectfully Submitted,

Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary


Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman


Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chairman


           W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman


           Jane Cornell, Selectman


               Thomas Hooker, Selectman