A couple on Wolfe Island, Ontario are asking their local officials to reduce the valuation of their home by about 17% due to its proximity to a wind farm that began operating two years ago. Wolfe Island is in the St. Lawrence, and sits a couple miles from the New York town of Cape Vincent, where another wind farm is planned.
Ed and Gail Kenney had their home assessed at $357,000 just as the wind farm construction was beginning; a more recent appraisal in early 2010 came in at $283-295,000; the appraiser said she took the proximity of the wind farm into account. The Kenney’s home sits just over 1 kilomerter, or six-tenths of a mile, from the nearest turbine. Their claim asserts that the lights and the noise from the turbines are the factors that reduce the value.
A witness for the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, which disputes the reduced valuation, and maintains that the 2008 assessed value is still valid, cited property sales in Dufferin County where 133 turbines are now operating. Seventeen homes have sold, though the distances were not stated; four sold for more than the initial asking price, and the others showed no clear relationship to proximity to turbines, so “there’s not enough evidence to warrant a negative adjustment.”
UPDATE, 4/16/12: The Assessment Review Board ruled that proximity to wind farms should not be a factor in county assessments of properties. The Kenneys claim that virtually no homes have been sold near the turbines on Wolfe Island since the wind farm became operational.
UPDATE, 7/3/13: The latest update from Wolfe Island suggests that 78 properties have seen substantial reductions in assessed value between 2008 and 2012; most are within 2000 feet of turbines, though turbine proximity is not cited as the reason for the reductions. See more here
As noted in AEI’s previous coverage of property values research, while there is little evidence of decreased property values due to seeing turbines in the distance, there is less clarity about whether values decrease within a half mile or mile, where noise issues become a factor. As in the Dufferin County sales, there are generally too few sales at close range to produce statistically significant trends one way or the other. In 2008, several property owners near a Prince Edward Island wind farm had their property values reduced by the town by about 10%. Developers of two different wind farms in Ontario – one of the Dufferin County farms and one in Ripley – have purchased several homes from neighbors after they found noise of the turbines disruptive. UPDATE, 10/1/11: This story from the CBC discusses several homeowners in Ontario who have been unable to attract buyers or who sold for a loss after a wind farm began operating nearby (including four of the homes bought by developers).