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Windmill meeting planned for today

Hornby | Officials continue to scrutinize plans for a 40-turbine wind farm in the town of Hornby region, with a special zoning committee meeting set to take place there at 6:30 p.m. today.

A separate public review period on the development by the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency is scheduled to end Wednesday.

The special zoning committee in Hornby has met for several months to review existing regulations and determine what changes might be made to the town code.

“We're trying to address all the situations while they're still situations,” said Town Planning Board Chairwoman Delores Bixby. “We've got a lot of information we're going through.”

Bixby said the public can attend and submit questions in writing at the meeting.

“If we take time to answer questions, we don't have time to do what we're there for,” she said.

The development by Clipper Windpower, Inc., of California, would put up 30 turbines in Hornby and an additional 10 turbines in the neighboring Schuyler County town of Orange.

Several wind farms of similar sizes have been proposed throughout the county, including projects in Prattsburgh, Howard, Cohocton and Hartsville.

The response in the communities has been mixed, with opponents claiming the 400-foot turbines could harm the environment, the character of the communities and pose safety hazards.

Supporters of the projects say the turbines are a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
A separate public review period on the development by the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency is scheduled to end Wednesday.

The special zoning committee in Hornby has met for several months to review existing regulations and determine what changes might be made to the town code.

“We're trying to address all the situations while they're still situations,” said Town Planning Board Chairwoman Delores Bixby. “We've got a lot of information we're going through.”

Bixby said the public can attend and submit questions in writing at the meeting.

“If we take time to answer questions, we don't have time to do what we're there for,” she said.

The development by Clipper Windpower, Inc., of California, would put up 30 turbines in Hornby and an additional 10 turbines in the neighboring Schuyler County town of Orange.

Several wind farms of similar sizes have been proposed throughout the county, including projects in Prattsburgh, Howard, Cohocton and Hartsville.

The response in the communities has been mixed, with opponents claiming the 400-foot turbines could harm the environment, the character of the communities and pose safety hazards.

Supporters of the projects say the turbines are a source of renewable energy, will provide jobs and income for some residents, and will reduce taxes in the municipalities and school districts.

Paul Turner, a member of the town board and the special committee, said some concerns surrounding the turbines are real.

“I believe they are important factors, like the noise issue, for example,” Turner said. “I also believe it's a matter of degree.”

Last spring, Turner proposed a moratorium on development in the town in order for officials to study the impact the turbines would have on the community.

During that time, the committee has researched potential problems, he said.

“What we've been trying to do is get numerous sources and decided what's credible information,” he said.

Turner said there has been opposition to the farms, but said he is concerned that it may be out of proportion.

“For example, people worry about turbines falling over,” he said. “It's not that we want to say ‘Don't worry,' but we do say ‘What's the likelihood?'”

One legitimate issue is the noise the wind turbines make, he said.
“We acknowledge that could be a problem, so we do what we can to assure the windmill isn't put close enough to be a problem,” Turner said. “They say it's no louder than a refrigerator humming, but I don't know, somebody's going to hear it, so let's do something about it.”

Currently, one proposed solution to reduce noise levels is to require 1,200-foot setback from any residence in the town, he said.

Orange Supervisor Cedric Stewart said support in his town appears strong, but added residents closer to proposed turbine sites have a number of questions.

“There will always be some people against it,” Stewart said. “Obviously, there is a benefit to the (turbines) Š we've got to do something about energy. I'm in favor of it but there's a lot of work to do yet.”

Residents in Hornby and Orange also have been given a chance to review a draft environmental review of the project and submit questions to SCIDA by Wednesday.

The draft is available at SCIDA and both town halls.

Other related agencies such as the state Department of Environmental Conservation will also review the draft environmental review and submit questions.

The questions will be included in a more complete environmental study by Clipper Winds and submitted to SCIDA. The date for the second study to be completed has not been set.

Source: http://www.the-leader.com/a...

FEB 2 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1156-windmill-meeting-planned-for-today
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