Comanche County_Some homeowners near the Comanche-Caddo County line are not happy. They have just found out that their roads will be used for construction traffic for the Blue Canyon Wind Farm. While wind turbines may be the future for sustainable energy, they are causing old-fashioned headaches homeowners near the farm.
A new batch of turbines is set to be constructed later this month, but road improvements are being made before work begins so heavy equipment can be trucked in to the site. Homeowners first learned of the roadwork when they got an agreement in the mail that would allow it to begin. They were asked to sign and return the agreement.
Homeowners on the county line say they are worried about the construction traffic bringing dust and extra traffic, plus limiting access to their own neighborhood roads. They say they didn't know it was even being considered until the last minute. While the road isn't being used much at the moment, in about a week it will be busy. "They have to prepare Shroyer Road before they can start the construction of the windmills," said resident V.J. Snelson. "We are just concerned about the traffic, and that kind of thing."
Residents say they are unhappy about how they were informed about the upcoming increase in traffic. "This came in the mail priority mail - this whole packet without the maps," said Snelson. "That was the first notice that we had that they wanted to do something to our road." They say the agreement itself says the matter was discussed, despite the fact it was the first they had heard of it. But, Snelson says that isn't the only troubling line in the agreement. "The part that distresses me the most is the fact that it says 'irrevocable and perpetual' - which means forever." Residents didn't sign the agreement.
Horizon Wind Energy officials, who are building the turbines, say they understand the residents' concerns, and plan to address them. "If it takes a subsequent meeting with them for them to be perfectly content and pleased, then that is what we will do," said Horizon representative Jim Roberts.
Now, before anything can begin, Horizon plans to draw up a new contract. "We will be meeting with the people one-on-one to get those signed," said Roberts. Homeowners say they are all for renewable energy, but not the hefty disruption to their daily lives. "We really all approve of the windmills, but it is the use of our road to get the construction done," said Snelson.
Roberts says - if necessary - he and his team will have subsequent meetings with community members to make sure everyone is happy with the contract before work begins. The project is set to begin by mid-April, and the turbines should be online by the end of October.