The Jefferson County town of Henderson paid $20,000 for researchers from the Nanos Clarkson Research Collaboration to determine what affects -- positive or negative -- a wind farm on Galloo Island might have on their lakeside town.
The residents who showed up at Henderson’s fire hall Monday night wanted answers. Most live in the lake-side town year round, a few made the drive from their winter homes. They were there to know what to expect if a developer constructs a 31-turbine wind farm 11-miles off shore on Galloo Island.
Researcher Stephen Bird summed up the findings.
“We do not expect to see significant benefits to the town of Henderson and that is what we we’re asked to look at,” Bird said.
According to the study, the region as a whole would experience an economic boost while the wind farm is built, but it wouldn't directly benefit Henderson. As many as 120 people could be hired, but those jobs would be temporary – just two years -- and likely come from Oswego or Syracuse. There was good news for local businesses. Researchers found no evidence that turbines would deter tourists from visiting Henderson to fish or boat on Lake Ontario.
But Bird also had bad news.
“We see negative impacts for Henderson for areas that have views of the Galloo Island facility should it be built,” Bird said.
That means homes with a direct view of Galloo Island and the spinning turbines could see their property values drop as much as 23 percent. That’s a high estimate.
Robert Ashodian's home overlooks the lake, and to his dismay, Galloo island.
“That is very visible to my property and the homes next to me are high price houses.”
We’re talking homes valued at over $1 million. Ashodian says Henderson relies on taxes from high price homes like his to operate. He made the point that the whole community could be affected “because the most expensive properties in the community went down and to raise the same amount of money the tax rate is going to up.”
The report found a total property value loss of $40 million over time.
Henderson town supervisor John Culkin plans to hand the report to the Public Service Commission, who's reviewing the project. He says he hopes they'll agree to stop the Galloo Island wind farm.