Wind park moving ahead
Jul 01, 2015 | 6619 views | 2 2 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A map provided by sPower shows the location of wind turbines at the proposed wind park north and west of Monticello City limits.  The 80-acre “island” in the project can be seen at the center of the project.  Courtesy art
A map provided by sPower shows the location of wind turbines at the proposed wind park north and west of Monticello City limits. The 80-acre “island” in the project can be seen at the center of the project. Courtesy art
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sPower is moving ahead with plans to install a 27-turbine wind park north of Monticello. sPower officials state that construction is set to begin this month (July), with at least partial completion of the estimated $136 million project by the end of 2015.

The massive turbines in the wind park will be located primarily on three ridges immediately north and west of Monticello. The project was initially developed by Wasatch Wind and was recently purchased by sPower.

sPower officials estimate that the project will pay between $10 and $15 million in property taxes over the 20-year life of the project. Power will be sold to Rocky Mountain Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

sPower is scheduling a job fair later in the month as they anticipate hiring up to 100 workers for the construction phase of the project. Company officials state that they hope to hire up to 50 percent of the workers from the local area.

While sPower is moving ahead with the project, which has been in the planning phase for nearly a decade, a group of local landowners is trying to slow down the project.

The Northern Monticello Alliance (NMA) is a landowner association made up primarily of the 17 owners of an 80-acre parcel of land in the middle of the wind farm property.

The landowners seek to slow the project or have sPower buy their properties. In 2012, they filed an appeal of a Conditional Use Permit granted to the project by San Juan County in 2012.

sPower officials state that prior wind park developers have worked with the landowners, but they were unable to agree on a fair price.

The landowners counter that they have not been appropriately notified of the project and simply seek to protect their investments and the health, safety and general welfare of the area and community.

The property was initially purchased in 1999 from the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) for approximately $1,000 an acre. There are now 17 owners in the 80-acre parcel. Individual portions range from five to ten acres. The landowners are primarily out-of-town residents, including two former employees of Wasatch Wind.

A prior appeal of the Conditional Use Agreement was withdrawn in 2013 when Wasatch Wind offered a purchase option to the landowners. The option expired in February, 2015.
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deltabravo
|
July 03, 2015
This article fails to mention many things, including:

The Latigo wind complex was not deemed viable until many years after the purchase of the 80 acres by the current landowners.

No land owners worked for Wasatch Wind, LLC until after the 80 acres were under contract -- years before new technology permitted consideration of the low wind yields near Monticello. Wasatch Wind, LLC, with its employee records, multiple witness accounts and former Wasatch Wind, LLC management verifies these facts. Wasatch Wind International, not to be confused with Wasatch Wind,LLC, was comprised of one person company that became interested in selling this Latigo wind project but failed to conduct disciplined due diligence.

Several of the 80 acre owners / taxpaying citizens live in San Juan County and / or were raised in San Juan County. Fourteen of the 17 owners have long-time close family ties in the area.

Land owners did not build residences on the 80 acres due to the contract Wasatch Wind International sought.

The "millions" of San Juan County tax revenue now being claimed by sPower should be verified. (Similar claims of "millions" were made until that talk turned out to be about $250,000 total, over 20 years. In fact, in 2012 the wind complex's attorney admitted property values in Monticello would drop by 13% due to the presence of the towers. What are the gains and losses with this wind project? Will property taxes fall when property values fall?)

The 50 to 100 sPower jobs will only last 3 - 4 months. Only 1-2 jobs may remain past the project completion.

The "donut hole" land owners prefer not to sell their properties and hopes sPower finds its wind energy further out from Monticello and / or away from other tax payers'.

To date, sPower has not offered the minimum per acre price for the 80 acres - despite 1) a price that was agreed to by all interested parties more than two years ago or 2) since receiving a June, 2015 Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) of SOLD properties--as conducted by a neutral, reputable, established Monticello area real company.

There will not ever be a tax base of residential properties and / or low profile, clean business development in the northern corridor of the City as long as this wind complex operates there.

Who will pay for the removal of the turbines when technologies change and render the federally tax supported turbines obsolete?

The dangerous ice throw, over-spin blade explosions and decibel encompass much the land owners' properties, especially with sPower new wind complex plans

If sPowers has a willingness to deploy "dark skies" technology, as once promoted by Wasatch Wind Internationsl, to minimize light pollution?

How 360 views of 27 499 ft tall engineered turbines may be "elegant" to some people but the turbines are not more elegant than Nature's engineering of the views of the Blue Mountain or the La Platas.

etc.

When corporate interests ask for so much, they should give back accordingly. The 80 acre land owners' property values and intended use will be totally destroyed. Asking the right questions now and being faithful to the CUP process could stop what is otherwise corporate bullying and may help prevent other San Juan County and Monticello area residents from losing as much or as the 80 acre land owners.





outback
|
July 08, 2015
I am another land owner in the area at the top of this map, that looks like I am a willing participate, With what looks to be windmills on three sides of my property, I have not been contacted from S power but also feel my property would basically be condemed for any type of usage with the potenial of 400 foot windmills so close to my property.
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