HARTSVILLE — The Hartsville Town Board declined to provide variances to NextEra Energy Resources Wednesday's and it passed a resolution stating the town is "not a willing host" for the Eight Point Wind Project.
Residents — both pro- and anti-wind development — filled the Hartsville Town Garage for the second straight monthly board meeting. Many pro-wind residents sported green hats with "Hartsville Wind" on them and green T-shirts that read "WIND TODAY."
Town Councilman Mike Muhleisen, who was appointed deputy supervisor earlier in the meeting, led the proceedings and read the board’s response to NextEra Energy Resources’ requests for variances to Hartsville’s wind law.
NextEra had asked the board to remove or waive the 450-foot height restriction as put forth in the wind law, raising that limit to 590 feet; a 1,500-foot setback to all residences; a setback to non-participating property lines of 1.1 times the tip height of a particular turbine; and a revision of sound requirements.
Ryan Pumford, project director at NextEra Energy Resources, was joined by Mike Lopushinsky, NextEra environmental specialist and Coke Coakley, NextEra manager of environmental services at Wednesday’s meeting.
“The Hartsville Town Board will not make any capricious or arbitrary statements regarding variances for Local Law No. 2 of 2009,” Muhleisen read. “The application procedure set forth in Local Law No. 2 of 2009 is very specific. The process has not been completed by NextEra Wind and therefore the Hartsville Town Board cannot provide a variance review.”
In addition, the statement noted that any amendment to the wind law would require legal counsel, a written proposal by the board, a public hearing and filing with the state among other steps.
“The Town Board unanimously agrees that no amendments to Local Law No. 2 of 2009 will be made,” Muhleisen said to a mix of cheers and boos.
From there, Town Councilman David McEvoy presented a resolution that would make Hartsville “not a willing host” to the Eight Point Wind Project “or any other wind energy facility project that is not in full compliance with the Town of Hartsville’s Local Law No. 2 of 2009.”
The board then unanimously approved the measure, 4-0.
Muhleisen then made a motion to adjourn the meeting, to the ire of several in the audience.
“As noted at the beginning, because of the organizational changes we asked that those comments be added to the board in writing,” Muhleisen said before the motion was approved, reiterating a similar statement he made at the start of the meeting.
The motion didn’t stop pro-wind officials from speaking their minds even as town officials left the garage. Amelia “Mead” Amidon read a prepared statement equating the Hartsville Town Board to a “dictatorship.