What about my property rights?
To the Editor:
I would like the average citizens and property owners in Vermont to get something straight about property rights and industrial wind turbines. First of all, property owners, large and small, have the same rights to use their own property responsibly. Zoning bylaws and land use regulations are the same for both. We all whine about zoning restrictions but they are what has kept people from doing things like installing 50-foot poles with giant loud speakers attached to blast their own philosophies and entertainments from their private properties at the peace-loving landowners in the valley below. Some rules are made to keep the peace.
There are those however who expect special privileges because they are wealthy or own large tracts of land. Take the case of Dan Ouimette from New Hampshire and Steve Watson from Hong Kong. They own big tracts of undeveloped land in Newark, Brighton and Ferdinand. They claim logging rights on that land and have skipped out of paying real taxes, like real Vermonters do, by hiding under the Current Use exemption, promising to keep those lands undeveloped and well-managed. Then, after careful manipulation of the legislative process by corporate interests (which interest the big landowners for sure), an absurd piece of legislation appears called Act 248, which rips the rights of us little landowners of the environmental protections we have cherished for generations and hands a loving kiss to the big landowners to lease their big properties to industrial wind developers. What about Current Use? It's just a minor penalty to violate current use or drop out of the program, nothing a big landowner can't afford, especially when the big bucks are in the leases they can use their special Act 248 privilege for.
What about the big wind developers? Why they get paid at least twice, once with your tax money through special privilege government subsidies and again through the sucker electric ratepayer. Oh, and don't forget the special privilege granted to the big wind developer by a corrupt Vermont governor which requires utilities to buy that junk electricity that no one needs or wants. Why should Shumlin care? He's not paying the rates, we are. We're even stuck paying the salary for this rotten politician that only the misguided and uninformed accidentally voted for.
Where does that leave me? I can't put up my 50-ft pole with loud speaker because Brighton zoning laws say nothing over 35 ft. I can't even build a short road out to that loud speaker without an Act 250 permit because I might need to put in a culvert. I can't make all the noise I want because the cops will be pounding at my door screaming that the neighbors are complaining and I'll be arrested if I don't shut up. No special privileges at all. My little 11-acre retirement dream is now threatened with 200-ft tall Met towers and 500-ft tall racket-making wind turbines that I have no special privileges to stop. What about MY property rights, Mr. Ouimette and Mr. Watson?
Kathleen J. Nelson
Island Pond, Vt.