The story below, is what you should tell your neighboring farmers about. Why? Because in at least 1 state and now in Canada, neighbors like these are ALLOWED TO SUE for this nuisance. This issue will divide communities, friends and families and, ultimately, raise all of our electric rates. Is it worth that? Ohio’s House Bill 483 increase our setback to 1250 feet from a property line. It is a step in the right direction to protect property owners like those below. You may have the right to build a turbine on your property; but what if that right infringes on another’s right to live in peace/quiet?…
…To the rest, it’s a morning flicker on the living room walls. It’s a noise that keeps them up at night. It’s a stain on the horizon, a loss of the privacy they sought out here among the yuccas.
“And just the pure immense size of them,” said Connie Stunkel, a retired schoolteacher. “It looks like they’re hovering on top of you — like a sentry or something, you know?”
Connie and her husband, Dave, both 67, live in a two-story farmhouse on 12 acres at the end of a long gravel road. Lines of barbed wire fade into the hills. Hay bales stack up like bread loaves in the nearby field. The turbines now surround them in every direction, one of them straddling the zoning boundary just a quarter-mile away.
“No matter which way you look, you see them,” Dave Stunkel said, looking out his window. “And no matter which way the wind blows, I get the noise.”
Some say it’s barely audible — like wind rushing through a pocket of cedar trees. Some call it a low murmur, like a dishwasher or distant traffic. Dave conceded the noise fluctuates, but at times, he said, “it’s just unbearable — like three or four jets going over at the same time.” In the winter, they said, the pitch changes, climbs higher; less a whoosh than a whine.
And it’s not just the noise, the Stunkels said. It’s the flicker, too. In the spring and fall, every morning for weeks at a time, the turbines to the east cut through the sunrise and throw a “strobe effect” across their property. They shut the blinds. They pull the covers over their heads. At night, they do the same, blocking the red safety lights that blink until dawn.
More than once, out working in the yard, they’ve had the feeling of being watched, like someone’s standing behind them, only to crane their necks and find the rotating shadow of the blades.
But there are no turbines on the Stunkels’ land. So unlike the property owners, they are not compensated for the inconvenience. They do not receive a royalty check each February.
Though land lease contracts are confidential, the Nebraska Public Power District — which initiated the wind developments as part of a goal to reach 10 percent renewable energy by 2020 — estimated annual payments somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000 per turbine.
“We have to put up with everything, and they get all the royalties off them,” Dave said of his neighbors. “The inconvenience they put on everybody else just to pad their pocketbook a little bit just gripes me.”