PARISHVILLE — Parishville Town Council members voted down a one-year moratorium on proposed wind towers Friday night after 60 to 70 residents voiced their concerns to local politicians.
The unanimous vote came after community members spoke out against the proposed which have divided the community.
Avangrid Renewable plans to erect 40 wind towers that are about 500 feet high on land in Hopkinton and Parishville.
“The audience was all against it (wind towers),” District 7 County Legislator for Rick Perkins said. His district includes the towns of Hopkinton, Parishville, Colton, Pierrepont, Clare and Piercefield.
The moratorium would have given more time for studies to be completed and information to be collected.
“I agree with what the town board voted for,” Perkins said. Perkins said that there would still be time to vote on a moratorium in the future.
“This is a long process — we just need to keep collecting information,” he said.
Perkins, who is remaining neutral on the wind towers, says it would be near the end of the year of even early next year before an application from Avangrid would be filed, should things move forward.
“We need to keep collecting info and make a sound judgment,” Perkins said.
On March 7, about 100 residents attended a meeting hosted by Avangrid at Hopkinton Town Hall where a preliminary layout of the North Ridge Wind Farm project was shown and company officials fielded questions from locals.
The presentation included maps and visual simulation from certain areas in the towns of Parishville and Hopkinton.
“I appreciate the engagement from folks, there were lots of great questions and we were here to do our best to educate and explain the process on the positive long-term effects this will have on the community,” Avangrid Renewable spokesperson Paul N. Copleman said.
Copleman said benefits include creating jobs and providing revenue for landowners and the rest of the community.
Based on projects in the past Copleman believes the wind towers would lead to six permanent jobs and about 125 construction jobs likely lasting 12 to 18 months.
Copleman says revenue for landowners and farmers could be $500,000 and around $750,000 for the community.
“The community can spend it as they see fit,” he said. “In the past communities have spent it on cutting taxes, or upgrades to schools and infrastructure.”
Avangrid officials have stated in the past that they would likely ask the two towns, the Parishville-Hopkinton School District, and St. Lawrence County to allow the company to make payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs. If so, each of those entities will have to decide, one by one, if they will grant those tax breaks.