McCann Testimony

Michael McCann is a professional real estate appraiser who works out of Illinois.  He’s been in the business for many years and during that time has given expert testimony in hundreds of cases.  Recently he gave testimony to the Adams County (Illinois) Board, which was considering zoning rules for wind projects. As the construction of new wind energy projects has continued, the evidence of all the problems – noise, property value declines, health, wildlife – has continued to build up as well.  For those of us who have been watching this for the last several years it seems as though no matter what facts are brought to the table, the building continues.  Mr. McCann, like many of us, has sharpened his writings to reflect his growing disbelief that so many people seem to have lost their senses.  This testimony, while still professional, is pretty sharply written, and is well worth a read.  His basic message is that prices drop anywhere from 25% to 40% within 2 miles of a project, and within the project they can drop to zero.

The body of his testimony is 18 pages and can be easily read in under an hour.  For those in a hurry, at least read his opinions, starting on page 5.  Here are some other quotes that give you a flavor.

“There is however a considerable body of evidence that clearly shows there are in fact many circumstances where this intention [no impact to the environment] does not match the reality, and is affecting many people, livestock, lifestyles, sleep and health issues, and the related underlying property values of wind turbine neighbors.”

“One might argue that man-made disasters like the Gulf oil spill are part of the justification for pushing full steam ahead on wind energy projects, yet the parallels remain between off-shore oil drilling and wind turbine projects [a partial list]:

  • Both industries have gone on record with claims that their projects are “safe”, will have very minimal impact on the environment, and include many “trust us” type statements, messages and public relations campaigns.
  • Both have considerable evidence accumulated of “anecdotal”, but nevertheless serious negative impacts that are long-term and affect a relatively small percentage of the population.
  • Both have historically had influence on political and legislative decision makers.
  • Questionable “science” is cited and utilized by the energy industry to support their PR claims and approval requests, with respect to property values and health issues emanating from noise, and primarily the sleep interruptions. As an example, Exxon was able to obtain a written opinion that the Valdez spill did not damage coastal property values, despite the nearly complete destruction of the local fishing-based economy and the extensive environmental degradation from the oil spill.”

“To my knowledge there are no scientific studies that prove bricks falling from a high rise scaffold will cause injury or worse to people walking below, but there is enough “anecdotal” evidence over time to warrant building codes and ordinances that require effective barriers to protect the public health, safety & welfare (which is exactly what zoning and other ordinances are supposed to accomplish).”

“As a real estate appraiser with 25 years experience in evaluating zoning matters, I am unaware of any other land use in the 20 States in which I have worked that is permitted to cause such a nuisance that a property owner’s rights are completely disregarded and protection of their property values marginalized to the point of meaningless and nonexistent protection, via inadequate separation of incompatible uses based on industry preferred
setbacks.”

Link to the full report, it’s big, over 5mb.

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