Cohocton Wind Watch: 60 Herkimer Co. residents file lawsuit against wind farm owner
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

60 Herkimer Co. residents file lawsuit against wind farm owner

Some Herkimer County residents near the Hardscrabble Wind Farm are fed up with the noise, the view and “negative impact” they say 37 wind turbines bring to their backyards.

Frustrated by the wind farm that some residents say drives them “crazy,” 60 Middleville, Fairfield and Norway residents have filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court against the entities responsible for its construction, namely Iberdrola Renewables.

“A lot of it has to do with the effect that it’s having in being in close proximity to the residences,” said Jeff DeFrancisco, an attorney from DeFrancisco & Flagiatano Law Firm of Syracuse.

Among the complaints, the lawsuit asserts that those responsible for the construction of the wind farm were negligent in assessing the site to determine whether it was properly suited for the project, and that the 450-foot turbines are a public and private nuisance.

Iberdrola Communications Manager Paul Copleman said the company had no comment since it had not received the papers.

DeFrancisco, who is working with Syracuse environmental Attorney Melody Scalfone, said the concerns range from the negative impact the turbines have on the residents’ enjoyment of their home to health problems and difficulty selling the property.

Noise concerns

Jimmy Salamone, who lives on Davis Road in Fairfield, said he gets headaches and his ears ring.

“The noise is literally driving me out of my house,” he said.

Iberdrola installed a noise-reduction system at four turbines in Fairfield earlier this year. Prior to that, the town had requested sound studies.

Fairfield Town Supervisor Henry Crofoot said he anticipates the preliminary results of the system to be presented within the next month.

Salamone said the town leadership hasn’t had the residents’ best interests in mind.

“I’m very, very disgusted with the way our town supervisor and Town Board have handled any of this,” he said. “These things are hurting people.”

Crofoot, who said he has not seen the lawsuit, said the town is doing what it can.

“We will do whatever we can to help our residents within the letter of the law,” he said.

‘We’ve got to leave’

Salamone said he hopes the lawsuit will encourage Iberdrola to shut down the wind farm, or that the plaintiffs will be “heavy compensated.”

“I would expect them to buy my house, whatever the lawsuit is, and we would leave,” he said. “One way or another, we’ve got to leave.”

Leaving is difficult for many residents, DeFrancisco said, because the turbines can impact property values.

“A lot of people don’t want to live in that area because (turbines) obstruct the view,” he said.

Others, Scalfone said, bought property intending to build a retirement home and now can’t sell the land because of the turbines.

The bottom line is the turbines are a nuisance, he said.

“The New York law simply states it’s unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of your property,” Scalfone said. “The residents’ quality of life has been significantly impacted.”

Some Herkimer County residents near the Hardscrabble Wind Farm are fed up with the noise, the view and “negative impact” they say 37 wind turbines bring to their backyards.

Frustrated by the wind farm that some residents say drives them “crazy,” 60 Middleville, Fairfield and Norway residents have filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court against the entities responsible for its construction, namely Iberdrola Renewables.

“A lot of it has to do with the effect that it’s having in being in close proximity to the residences,” said Jeff DeFrancisco, an attorney from DeFrancisco & Flagiatano Law Firm of Syracuse.

Among the complaints, the lawsuit asserts that those responsible for the construction of the wind farm were negligent in assessing the site to determine whether it was properly suited for the project, and that the 450-foot turbines are a public and private nuisance.

Iberdrola Communications Manager Paul Copleman said the company had no comment since it had not received the papers.

DeFrancisco, who is working with Syracuse environmental Attorney Melody Scalfone, said the concerns range from the negative impact the turbines have on the residents’ enjoyment of their home to health problems and difficulty selling the property.

Noise concerns

Jimmy Salamone, who lives on Davis Road in Fairfield, said he gets headaches and his ears ring.

“The noise is literally driving me out of my house,” he said.

Iberdrola installed a noise-reduction system at four turbines in Fairfield earlier this year. Prior to that, the town had requested sound studies.

Fairfield Town Supervisor Henry Crofoot said he anticipates the preliminary results of the system to be presented within the next month.

Salamone said the town leadership hasn’t had the residents’ best interests in mind.

“I’m very, very disgusted with the way our town supervisor and Town Board have handled any of this,” he said. “These things are hurting people.”

Crofoot, who said he has not seen the lawsuit, said the town is doing what it can.

“We will do whatever we can to help our residents within the letter of the law,” he said.

‘We’ve got to leave’

Salamone said he hopes the lawsuit will encourage Iberdrola to shut down the wind farm, or that the plaintiffs will be “heavy compensated.”

“I would expect them to buy my house, whatever the lawsuit is, and we would leave,” he said. “One way or another, we’ve got to leave.”

Leaving is difficult for many residents, DeFrancisco said, because the turbines can impact property values.

“A lot of people don’t want to live in that area because (turbines) obstruct the view,” he said.

Others, Scalfone said, bought property intending to build a retirement home and now can’t sell the land because of the turbines.

The bottom line is the turbines are a nuisance, he said.

“The New York law simply states it’s unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of your property,” Scalfone said. “The residents’ quality of life has been significantly impacted.”

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