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Local

Appraiser: Property values hurt by turbines

Expert testifies before zoning panel on plan

DIXON – A proposed wind farm in southwestern Lee County likely would cause nearby property values to drop, a property appraiser said Wednesday.

Appraiser Michael McCann of Chicago testified before the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals on Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power’s plan for 53 turbines.

The board already has heard from another appraiser, Michael Crowley of Bureau County, who was paid by Mainstream. He contended he could find no evidence that the proposed turbines would hurt the value of nearby properties long term.

McCann, however, said he found the proposed wind farm would likely cause nearby property values to drop by 40 percent to 50 percent and nearby farmland by 10 percent.

Residents near wind farms often complain about turbines’ height, noise and shadow flicker, he said. The turbines can limit crop dusters’ ability to spray farms, reducing their value, he said.

“Anyone who reads a newspaper finds a large number of nuisance complaints [against wind farms], including from participating landowners who have decided not to be quiet,” McCann said.

The biggest impacts are within 2 miles, but can extend beyond that, he said.

He also said property value guarantees could help nearby property owners.

For his study, Crowley surveyed appraisers and assessors, but didn’t conduct other analyses such as looking at sales data. 

McCann said such surveys weren’t acceptable.

“Surveys are only appropriate when there is an absence of empirical data,’’ he said.

McCann was brought in by Rockford attorney Rick Porter, who is representing the wind farm’s opponents.

Mainstream is also planning nine turbines for southeastern Whiteside County, which the County Board has approved.

The company withdrew its proposal for 19 turbines in northern Bureau County, but is expected to submit a new application.

Lee County has been holding hearings for Mainstream’s plan for months. The County Board will have the final say.

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