Ruling Says Wind Farms Affect Property Values

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX four seasons realty limited

Even with the new proposed regulations surrounding their installations, the debate about wind turbines continue to rage in Ontario and certainly here in the Blue Mountain area.

A recent column by Bob Aaron in the Toronto Star caught my attention as he described the case of a taxpayer who challenged the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) in September, 2008. (How did we miss that!?)  This case set a landmark precedent attaching a dollar value to potential impacts of industrial wind installations on surrounding land owners.

A fellow by the name of Paul Thompson of Amaranth Township in the Shelburne area, appealed the assessed value of his home on the basis that it was located opposite a hydro substation that served an area wind farm.  His appeal was not actually based on the existence of the turbines but rather, on the noise produced by the substation.  He entered evidence that showed it emitted noise at a decibel level exceeding the normally acceptable  range.

In its ruling, the board member wrote that, "The Board finds that the constant hum alleged by Mr. Thompson does exist and significantly reduces the current value of the subject property."  They also said, "Having heard this nuisance, apparently sanctioned by the Municipality, the Board accepts Mr. Thompson's testimony that the stigma of noise contamination has a negative impact on the value and marketability of the property, and that after learning of the hum, prospective purchasers will quickly lose interest in purchasing the property. The Board is satisfied that a very substantial reduction is warranted."
The Board cut Mr. Thompsons assessed value of his property in half from $255,000 to $127,000.  What I find troubling about this case is that the number was not quantified and I read no evidence to suggest what the new property value should be.  Does this mean that a property affected by noise is impacted by $127,000 in that location?  Is that the new number?  If the house were originally valued at $150,000 or at $750,000, how would the value have changed?

Only time will answer the question as the free market adjusts for new conditions emerging in a new world.
The map featured here comes from the Canadian Wind Energy Association website which lists on the site, all of the current wind farm operations in Canada.

Comments (6)

Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


Additionally, certain types of farm aninals are veffected by various noise levels. Their ability to reproduce is impaired somewhat.

This can be identified and quantified.


Feb 16, 2010 01:59 PM
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Marg - I find it difficult to understand why Mr. Thompson could not get a reduction with out the cost of an appealt to the Board.

However I am glad he did as now there is case history that can be used by others when appealing for similiar reasons.

Feb 16, 2010 02:30 PM
Marg Scheben
RE/MAX four seasons realty limited - Collingwood, ON
Edey - Collingwood, Ontario

Brian - if you were a farmer, that would certainly have an impact on value.  I imagine that would also be a civil matter.  Any such precedents that you are aware of?

Kathy - I agree but wonder how this case will be applied in other situations.  Again, is it a percentage or a specific dollar value or ???  It's a challenging new area.

Feb 16, 2010 10:02 PM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Marg - If the same conditions exist elsewhere or for another property adjacent to this one it should be the same percentage.

Years ago when the corner super mailbox first arrived on the scene there was an appeal that was successful and gained a reduction based on the detrimental affects the mailbox had on the value of the property it sat on. This reduction ended up being granted across the province to every home that had a super mailbox. continued here



Feb 17, 2010 07:40 AM
Marg Scheben
RE/MAX four seasons realty limited - Collingwood, ON
Edey - Collingwood, Ontario

Barrie - you are such an expert on this topic.  I'm curious - does that reduction for mail boxes still apply to this day or is now considered a new normal?  I can't say I've ever noticed an adjustment for these on any CVA I've reviewed.

Feb 18, 2010 12:28 AM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Marg - I suspect they are as you say the new normal now and that this particular issues is no longer an issue.

Any decision that lowers the assessment on a large group of homes is likely to be reevaluated on an ongoing basis by MPAC. I know on an individual basis I continually fight for reductions, won in the past, based on issues that are not considered each time they do a reassessment.

ps: I would not consider myself an expert on the subject but rather an educated consumer who does not like all the inequities and unfairness of the current system. One I consider to be a total waste of taxpayers dollars

Feb 18, 2010 01:23 AM