IRASBURG — Members of the Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance, a citizens’ group dedicated to preserving the ridgelines of Irasburg from development by industrial wind turbine projects, announced a neighborhood fencing bee to be held on Saturday morning, November 7, at the junction of Kidder Hill Road and Route 58, beginning at 9 a.m.
The project will start the construction of two fences along the property lines of the Stone and Wahl families, who live at the entrance to the Kidder Hill community. The two families plan to build the fences to define the boundaries of their property and protect the integrity of their homes.
The project takes its name from the adage “Good fences make good neighbors,” made famous by Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall.”
“By building a fence, we’re walling in our healthy homes, our property values, our sense of community and our quality of life,” said Kidder Hill homeowner Susan Wahl. “We’re walling out the threats to all those values from the development of industrial wind projects on Kidder Hill.”
David Blittersdorf, founder and CEO of All Earth Renewables, has announced his intention to build two 500-foot industrial wind turbines on Irasburg’s Kidder Hill, just three-eighths of a mile from the Stone and Wahl homes. Other homes are even closer to the proposed site.
On October 1, Irasburg voters rejected development of the town’s ridgelines by industrial wind projects by a vote of 274 to 9.
The Wahl family chose the Kidder Hill neighborhood of Irasburg as a retirement home. They purchased their property on June 15, 2015, just weeks before Blittersdorf made known his plans for the turbines.
“My husband and I had finally found the place we’d been looking for,” Wahl said. “We both decided this is where we want to spend the rest of our lives, where we can bring our grandchildren. We put our life savings into this home. Then we learned that all the things that brought us to Kidder Hill could be destroyed.”
Besides the noise, health hazards, environmental harm, reduced property values and offensive aesthetics from the turbines proposed for their doorstep, neighbors cite the potential damage to properties along Kidder Hill Road from the large-scale construction vehicles the project would require.
The Wahl and Stone families hope that the fencing project will send a message about the need for residents of Kidder Hill and Irasburg to stand together to protect the town’s ridgelines.
“We trust that the governor and the Public Service Board will hear our voices and do the right thing,” Wahl said.
Irasburg resident Michael Sanville lives a mile downwind from the proposed turbines. He questions the need for yet another renewable energy project in the region.
“The Northeast Kingdom already produces more energy than we can consume,” Sanville said. “Enough is enough.”