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Sheffield: Therriens Moving Away From Wind Farm

The Therrien family on their Sheffield property.

122254-0The Therrien family, who live near the First Wind industrial wind development in Sheffield, are moving to Derby.

Steve and Luann Therrien are making arrangemets to relocate themselves and their children away from the six 400-foot wind towers within a few hundred yards of their 50-acre property off New Duck Pond Road in Sheffield.

First Wind, the corporation that built and operated the Sheffield development, changed hands last month. The new owners are SunEdison and TerraForm Power and nothing about the operation is expected to change.

Details of the move are still being worked out; the Therriens wouldn’t disclose their new address or the particulars of their move. Luann Therrien said she was reluctant to discuss the move, fearing the Therriens’ enemies might vandalize their Duck Pond property. The news is already out there, however, and has been the stuff of coffee shop conversations in at least one adjacent town.

Steve Therrien has claimed his health has been severely damaged by his proximity to the wind towers. The whirring blades of the industrial towers create health hazards that have affected Steve, his wife and their two small children, the Therriens say.

The health impacts, say Steve, have rendered him unable to work and support his family.

Steve said Thursday he is confident his health will recover once he relocates to Derby and he believes his symptoms will improve and he can once again return to the workplace.

Steve describes his condition like this: “My head decided to do this thing. If there are 10 people in a boat, maybe two get seasick, but the other eight are fine. That’s what it’s like for me. It makes me sick … How do you tell someone, ‘I just don’t feel well.’ It’s shell shock.”

Luann says one daughter, 3-year-old Bailey, suffers sickness from the wind towers and explains, “She has never known what it’s like to live without the wind towers. They’ve been there her whole life.”

Over the years, the Therriens have made repeated attempts to have First Wind buy out their property so that they can leave and start over somewhere else. But, according to Steve, the best offer the company made was $45,o00 to purchase two of the 50 acres. The deal, said Steve, would have prevented them from living on the other 48 acres or from selling the land to anyone who ever intended to live on it.

The house, which is off the grid, and the 50 acres have previously been listed for $120,000 through a realtor. The town of Sheffield listed the property on the Sheffield grand list at a value of $87,000. Steve said once the family settles in Derby, he’ll begin marketing the property for its appraised value of $87,000.

Speaking of the move to Derby, Luanne said, “It’s being worked on. There’s a lot to be done. We have to move because of our illnesses. That’s the bottom line.” She added, “We’ve lived here for almost 20 years.” Steve’s family has owned the property since the 1970s, according to Luann. She said, “It’s taken so long to get to this point.”
Steve said he’s getting a lot of help with the move. He says people are donating time and donating furniture and helping them move.
Steve said the family does have regrets about leaving their home. “We’ve had a lot of really nice people in Sheffield,” he said.

He said town officials were not helpful with his family’s plight. “Selectmen have been bought off,” he said. “They need to be a little more compassionate.”

The Caledonian record.James Jardine, Staff Writer 12/12/2014

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