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Beekmantown residents turn out for wind meeting -One-year ban passed; too late for proposed project, which rests with Zoning Board

BEEKMANTOWN -- More than 50 residents filled the usually sparsely attended meeting of the Beekmantown Town Council on Monday night.

Many of them stood and expressed their opposition to the possibility of a wind farm being set up near their homes.

"Why would we want to go to somebody who has no track record and give them our beautiful land?" asked town resident Wanda Flynn.

Windhorse Power LLC wants to build 13 462.6-foot wind towers on land off Rand Hill Road. The partners involved in Windhorse have built four hydroelectric plants in Vermont and a single wind farm in Europe.
WINDHORSE NOT COVERED

At Monday's meeting, the Town Council held a public hearing and passed a 12-month moratorium on wind projects so the ramifications that a wind-power farm might have on the community can be studied.

Residents were concerned when they learned that the project they object to, Windhorse Power, is legally unaffected by the moratorium.

"It was not the intent to stop this project with a moratorium," said Town Supervisor Dennis Relation.

According to state law, no township has the right to enact a moratorium that would halt an existing project that has already been approved or is in construction.

"We could get sued," Relation said. "I have to look at legal ramifications for the Town of Beekmantown."

Even though Windhorse Power has not received a permit... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Many of them stood and expressed their opposition to the possibility of a wind farm being set up near their homes.
 
"Why would we want to go to somebody who has no track record and give them our beautiful land?" asked town resident Wanda Flynn.
 
Windhorse Power LLC wants to build 13 462.6-foot wind towers on land off Rand Hill Road. The partners involved in Windhorse have built four hydroelectric plants in Vermont and a single wind farm in Europe.
WINDHORSE NOT COVERED
 
At Monday's meeting, the Town Council held a public hearing and passed a 12-month moratorium on wind projects so the ramifications that a wind-power farm might have on the community can be studied.
 
Residents were concerned when they learned that the project they object to, Windhorse Power, is legally unaffected by the moratorium.
 
"It was not the intent to stop this project with a moratorium," said Town Supervisor Dennis Relation.
 
According to state law, no township has the right to enact a moratorium that would halt an existing project that has already been approved or is in construction.
 
"We could get sued," Relation said. "I have to look at legal ramifications for the Town of Beekmantown."
 
Even though Windhorse Power has not received a permit from the Zoning Board to build wind turbines, it may have by the time the law is passed.
 
The Zoning Board meeting is tonight, with a work session at 7:30 p.m. and the regular meeting at 8. Both sessions are open to the public.
 
The moratorium passed Monday will take about a week to be recognized by the Secretary of the State's Office, Town Clerk Marie Jolicoeur said.
 
"You have to go under the existing law," said Relation.
 
All the residents who spoke at the public session urged the Town Council to halt the progress of Windhorse Power LLC.
 
"We can't do that," Relation explained. "It's up to the Zoning Board."
DEVELOPING RULES
 
The moratorium, which was passed unanimously by the council, would stop any further projects from coming into the town for a year.
 
Health, safety, residential impact and cosmetics would all be considered in the one-year period until a local law could be enacted specifically covering wind turbines.
 
Until then, Windhorse Power LLC will be subject to the local laws already enacted.
 
"There need to be regulations," Relations stated.
DESIGNATION
 
In September 2005, the Zoning Board gave Windhorse Power permission to place a tower in the town in order to gather readings as to whether the site was suitable.
 
The company was listed an "Essential Service" under the zoning law, which pertains to utilities such as plumbing, electricity and phone lines.
 
The Essential Service classification is what is allowing the company to build in a residential zone.
 
"That is up to the Zoning Board," Relation said. "It's their responsibility to decide if it is an Essential Service.
 
"If it's not an Essential Service, it can't be built."
�MONSTERS'
 
Residents voiced concerns about the placement of the wind towers, power plant and future effects.
 
"We could have 13 rusting monsters on the Rand Hill Road," said Russel Hartung.
 
"How are we going to sell our houses?" Gary Peacock asked, saying potential buyers will not want to buy next to a spot where the towers are easily visible and perhaps noisy.
 
"I am getting the impression that this project is being rushed," Cindy Baker worried.
 
John Warshaw, owner of Windhorse Power LLC, attended the meeting and took questions from the audience, though the moratorium did not apply to his company.
 
"Number one, what speed the ZBA proceeds with our application is something to ask them," he said.
 
In response to the regulations that would be laid out during the moratorium and rules enacted by local communities such as Ellenburg, Peru, Clinton and Altona, he said they were willing to work with the town.
 
"We have stipulated that the ZBA act as if the stringent regulations were implanted directly in the Town of Beekmantown" Warshaw said.
 
Dan Jerry, another local resident, stood at the end of the meeting to express his view to the visiting crowd.
 
"I don't think you're being very fair," he said. He said he is usually one of the few people who attend the monthly meetings; if others had, they may have been better informed.
 
"You should have been here. You should have been here," he repeated.
 
Pictures available for viewing at the Town Hall show what the wind towers would look like from various distances.
 
"I understand the concerns," Relation said. "People live there and will be affected one way or another."



Source: http://www.pressrepublican....

MAR 22 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1901-beekmantown-residents-turn-out-for-wind-meeting-one-year-ban-passed-too-late-for-proposed-project-which-rests-with-zoning-board
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