Article

Parishville alters proposed wind law in effort to protect farmland

Councilwoman Kari E. Tremper said the town needs to be clear as it attempts to establish guidelines dictating the placement of turbines. "If they are spending our federal tax dollars to build these things, they might as well build them how we want them," she said.

PROTECTING FARMLAND: Rules would allow turbines to be built on infertile scrubland, fence lines

PARISHVILLE - Parishville is sharing more than just a border with the town of Hopkinton.

The towns have worked closely as both develop local wind laws, and now Parishville officials have decided to adopt a portion of Hopkinton's law as their own.

Town Supervisor Jerry G. Moore said he hopes the changes will encourage wind developers to build on infertile scrubland and fence lines as opposed to the middle of valuable crop fields.

"We are very concerned about losing tillable acres," he said. "This is a big issue for us. We don't want to ruin all our valuable farmland."

Throughout the country, 23 million acres of farmland, roughly the size of the state of Indiana, have been lost in the past 25 years, according to an American Farmland Trust study. This loss equals roughly an acre per minute, the study found.

Mr. Moore said the town must protect its farmland and needs to develop a law to reflect that concern.

But with just a single paragraph addressing the requirements developers have to follow when building in or around agricultural areas, officials decided they needed to elaborate on the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

PROTECTING FARMLAND: Rules would allow turbines to be built on infertile scrubland, fence lines

PARISHVILLE - Parishville is sharing more than just a border with the town of Hopkinton.

The towns have worked closely as both develop local wind laws, and now Parishville officials have decided to adopt a portion of Hopkinton's law as their own.

Town Supervisor Jerry G. Moore said he hopes the changes will encourage wind developers to build on infertile scrubland and fence lines as opposed to the middle of valuable crop fields.

"We are very concerned about losing tillable acres," he said. "This is a big issue for us. We don't want to ruin all our valuable farmland."

Throughout the country, 23 million acres of farmland, roughly the size of the state of Indiana, have been lost in the past 25 years, according to an American Farmland Trust study. This loss equals roughly an acre per minute, the study found.

Mr. Moore said the town must protect its farmland and needs to develop a law to reflect that concern.

But with just a single paragraph addressing the requirements developers have to follow when building in or around agricultural areas, officials decided they needed to elaborate on the restrictions and looked to their neighbors for guidance.

"I think these additional pages will really spell it all out," Mr. Moore said. "Here it is, in black and white."

But because of their desire to see turbines developed on the edges of properties, officials were forced to do away with certain setback requirements.

Parishville's former proposal required a wind turbine be built 500 feet from neighboring property, forcing farmers to sacrifice land in the middle of their fields should they agree to host a wind turbine.

After evaluating setback requirements developed by Hopkinton and other towns, officials in Parishville decided to eliminate that setback in a case where two landowners agree to development on their properties.

The alteration allows for turbines to be placed on the edge of a property, with the two owners splitting the profits, and ultimately encourages developers to build their turbines on unusable scrubland or fence lines, Mr. Moore said.

"When two farms come together, a lot of time it's just brush and trees," he said. "Building there, in a place that isn't worth anything, is a lot more sensible than to build a windmill in the middle of both properties."

Town Councilman Conrad D. Cook, who proposed a series of changes late last month, brought the idea before the Planning Board during a joint meeting Wednesday night.

"I think we need every drop of cropland we can get," he said.

Councilwoman Kari E. Tremper said the town needs to be clear as it attempts to establish guidelines dictating the placement of turbines.

"If they are spending our federal tax dollars to build these things, they might as well build them how we want them," she said.

As the town begins to finalize its proposal, Roger B. Linden, the town's attorney, said he will send the law to Hodgson Russ, a Buffalo consulting firm helping to guide the town through the development of the law.

If the firm doesn't find any substantial holes in the proposal, it will be passed along to the St. Lawrence County Planning Board. From there, Parishville will host a public hearing before voting on the proposal, a process Mr. Linden said will take at least three months.


Source: http://www.watertowndailyti...

SEP 9 2011
https://www.windaction.org/posts/31852-parishville-alters-proposed-wind-law-in-effort-to-protect-farmland
back to top