6/11/2010 Do wind turbines affect property values? Home in Invenergy wind project finally sells after 740 days on the market and a 45% price cut AND Should wind developers be licensed before they get you to sign contracts that will tie up your land for the next 40 years?
In March of 2008 the 86 turbine Invenergy Forward Energy wind project went on line in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties, Wisconsin. The setback from non-participating homes is 1000 feet. Two months later this home in the project goes up for sale.
LISTED MAY 29, 2008: For Sale: Country home on five wooded acres. 1900 square feet, four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, central air, new roof, sky lights in kitchen, deck, family room with wood burning fireplace, vaulted ceilings, first floor laundry, excercise room, whirlpool tub in master bath, 3.5 car garage, your own nature trail through black walnut woods behind the house
MAY 29, 2008: Asking $219,000 No buyers.
WINTER of 2009: Asking Price: $179,900. No buyers.
SPRING of 2010: Asking Price: $158,900. No buyers.
JUNE 4, 2010: After 740 days on the market, SOLD for $129,000
Though the wind industry claims the proximity of wind turbines to a home has no effect on property values, real estate broker and Wind Siting Council member Tom Meyer disagrees. He believes the presence of wind turbines does have a negative impact on property values.
He also believes that wind developers should be licensed before they get you to sign a contract that will tie up your land for the next 40 years.
[The following document can be found on the Wind Siting Council Docket, # 1-AC-231]
Prepared by Tom Meyer For Wind Siting Council Meeting June 9, 2010
Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 452 Real Estate Practice
The State of WI has a history of protecting the consumer of real estate services and holding real estate brokers accountable.
The ability to provide a limited practice of law is afforded to brokers by a 4-3 vote of the 1960 WI Supreme Court (The Dinger Case). This right is closely regulated and serves the public well for 60 years.
The legislature and the real estate industry in WI has worked cooperatively to modify Wisconsin’s agency law over those years to enhance the business models available to the WI consumer and raise the level of service and skill provided to the consumer by the licensee.
The activities of persons employed by, or acting on behalf of Turbine Developers, are substantially real estate brokerage services. The services are provided to the Lessor (the landowner) on behalf of the Lessee, (the wind energy developer).
Sign them up
A term commonly used in describing the door to door approach to obtaining leases where land owners “host” a turbine(s) is “Sign them up”.
While sign them up is not a legally defined term, what is being signed is a legally binding contract: a lease. What happens prior to the land owner signing the lease is “negotiation”, another legally defined term. See subsection 452.01
Atypical Lessee – Lessor Relationship
The lease instrument in Wind Energy Development is drafted by the LESSEE—the developer, not the landowner.
The more familiar practice in everyday real estate experience where a landowner leases property to another party is the reverse of what happens in wind energy development.
In siting wind turbines, the developer goes to the landowner.
The developer comes to the property with a vast amount of knowledge and preparation.
There is virtually no advanced notice and no opportunity to brainstorm with other landowners.(In fact we are told by Wind Siting Council members with wind energy interests that it is not favorable to their profit margins to have owners come together to discuss terms prior to signing contracts.)
The developer arrives with a contract and a sales presentation. The wind energy persons have stated that it is common for a family owned farm operation to be struggling financially in Wisconsin, and the promise of $4000 annual payments is attractive.
Protection for the Wisconsin Citizens who consider wind energy development leases
Providing a seven (7) day window of opportunity for the landowner to have the lease reviewed by legal counsel is a good start to protecting Wisconsin residents.
Considering the practice of soliciting lease agreements is a limited practice of law and not incidental to the work of the wind energy developers, it seems prudent for the wind energy developers to be Wisconsin licensed real estate brokers.
Advantage to the Public of Wind Turbine Developers being licensed real estate brokers:
An avenue of recourse through the Real Estate Board
Better disclosure of representation
Minimum level of competence for persons negotiating real estate transactions
Statutory defined duties of a broker:Fair and honest treatment. Reasonable Care and skill. Disclosure of material adverse facts. Confidentiality. Provide accurate market conditions. Accounting. Objective presentation of the lease.
Supervision standards for employees limiting who may discuss lease terms with the consumer
RL 15: Maintain copies of documents---Assures the public records of agreements and business practices are available for investigation
RL 16 Use of approved forms and legal advice—RL 16.05 prohibits the licensee from giving legal advice concerning rights and obligations. Will help with landowners being coerced into thinking their agreements are confidential.
RL 17 Protects the consumer from receiving real estate service from a non-licensed person.
RL 24 Conduct and ethical practices---Agreements are in writing, accurate representation of interests,
RL 25 Continuing Education—Keep the wind energy developer current with real estate laws
Provided by Tom Meyer, Wisconsin Real Estate Broker
HAVE YOU REACHED OUT AND TOUCHED YOUR PSC TODAY?
The PSC is asking for public comment on the recently approved draft siting rules. The deadline for comment is July 7th, 2010.
The setback recommended in this draft is 1250 feet from non-participating homes, 500 feet from property lines.