A windpower ordinance will be up for vote at Farmington Town Meeting on Monday evening. It ought not to pass as written; it would not protect residents from some of the noisome aspects of windpower.

The current ordinance would allow commercial-sized windturbines, such as the 750-kilowatt, 250-foot-high turbines, which were proposed for the Bailey Hill area, to be erected 262.5 feet from a neighbor’s property line.

It would allow noise levels at the property line to average 60 decibels, the equivalent of having people talking at your bedside all night long. The noise would be worse, however, since the low frequency noise of windmills carries farther and penetrates further. Neighbors’ sleep and health would be disturbed, and their property values would drop.

Farmington needs a windpower ordinance. It should allow a property owner or developer to follow the guidelines, put up a windmill, and be a “good neighbor.” It should protect citizens from the downside of someone else’s economic venture.

A report developed for a town in Michigan by acoustics expert, Robert Rand, is a good reference and can be found online at http://iiccusa.org/key-impacts/noise/.

Rand (www.randacoustics.com) is based in Brunswick, but has consulted on windpower projects across the state. He also has helped some neighboring towns develop their windpower ordinances.

Farmington needs to defeat the proposed ordinance and tell selectmen to fast track a new ordinance with guidance from an acoustics expert.

Burt Knapp, MD

West Farmington

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