Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from New York
It's over. Windhorse Power LLC proposed a 13-turbine wind-power facility in the Town of Beekmantown three years ago, and the Town Council shot it down at their regular meeting Monday night. Windhorse's project was approved Feb. 1, 2007, by the Beekmantown Zoning Board of Appeals.
Prattsburgh Town Code Enforcement Officer Les Babcock sent a revised response Tuesday to EcoGen's application for building permits stating "There are no town laws or ordinances which prevent EcoGen from proceeding with construction." Babcock sent the letter a week after board members declined to take any action on EcoGen's request for building permits. The developer plans to put up 34 turbines in the Prattsburgh-Italy area.
The lawsuit, filed in November by the grass-roots group Concerned Residents of Hammond, alleged the wind farm ordinance approved in October by the Town Council should be overturned because the state environmental quality review process was not followed. The town rescinded the wind ordinance in December. On Tuesday it was given notice that the lawsuit had been dropped.
The town's wind committee spent about eight hours over Thursday and Friday bartering and hashing out recommendations for wind turbine setbacks and noise requirements. By late Friday night, the group reached consensus and agreed to present its findings to the Town Council. One week after a nearly 400-foot wind tower collapsed across an access road at a wind park in Altona, the greatest amount of discussion centered on the distance turbines should be placed from roads and non-participating residents.
Hal Graham spoke before the crowd of just over 100 people, recalling how he strongly supported the concept of wind energy before a 50-turbine wind farm was developed near his property. "I was concerned about noise but they said there was no noise," he told the audience and the town board. "There is now a turbine 1,600 feet from my house, and another 2,500 feet from my house. The one 1,600 feet away sounds like a jet engine and the other one reads 78 decibels. We effectively lost the still and the quiet of the night."
A public hearing on the town's proposed updated zoning law, which addresses wind turbine development among other issues, will be conducted May 7 in the Town Hall. ...Resident Pete Humphrey asked why there was a rush to get the zoning in place as soon as possible, and why the issue couldn't have been handled at a regular meeting.
While Lyme's wind law may appear "restrictive" compared to those in other nearby towns, I prefer to think it is more protective of Lyme's residents. Lyme's Planning Board chose not to simply accept, as many towns have, the wind developer's suggestions as to what a wind zoning law should be. Instead, we developed a comprehensive questionnaire, which was answered by more than 900 residents of the town.
The town board in Hartsville, at a special meeting Wednesday, voted to place a moratorium on all industrial wind development project approvals. ...The decision came in opposition to half of the town board and officials from Germany-based wind developer E.ON, which asked the board to either hold off on the moratorium or shorten its duration.
The wind-turbine law and the appointment of a new town board member are stirring the pot in Richmondville. Councilmen earlier this month scheduled a wind law workshop with the planning board and appointed former supervisor Betsy Bernocco to a vacant council seat. Both moves sparked outcries from critics, who responded with phone calls and letters to the editor.
Nearly four months after the state attorney general's office established a code of conduct for wind energy developers, local wind farm developers have not yet signed on. In fact, only the two out-of-state companies that signed the agreement Oct. 30 have committed to following the attorney general's Wind Industry Ethics Code. Those two companies, Noble Environmental Power LLC, Essex, Conn., and First Wind, Newton, Mass., signed the pact after an investigation by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo into allegations that they were bribing local officials to push through wind projects.
The Town of Hunter has officially extended its moratorium on wind turbine construction for another six months. The action was taken at the monthly board meeting, following a public hearing on the extension, as the draft town law regulating turbine placement and construction has not yet been completed. The original moratorium adopted last year was put in effect to give the town some time to develop just such a law after concerns about the siting of wind turbines surfaced.
The 10-member committee discussed material presented at the Feb. 12 meeting by Gregory C. Tocci, principal at Cavanaugh Tocci Associates ...Among his recommendations were that the town adopt a law that uses a certain number of decibels above ambient noise as opposed to the current flat allowed rate of 50 decibels. The state Department of Environmental Conservation recommends no more than six decibels.
The group's ad, which ran in Sunday's Times, outlined potential conflicts of interest State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, three Town Council members and three Planning Board members have with wind developers. The conflicts are leases they or family members have signed with one or both of the wind farm developers in the town. The conflicts were acknowledged publicly in July when the board members filled out disclosure forms.
The town's wind committee got a tutorial on noise and advice on rewriting the noise standard in the local wind development ordinance at its meeting Thursday night. After the session, some members said it may be time to consider changing the law. The committee had a teleconference with Gregory C. Tocci, principal at Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Sudbury, Mass. Mr. Tocci's firm evaluated the noise studies done in Clayton by consultant CH2MHill for Iberdrola and in Cape Vincent by consultant Hessler Associates for BP Alternative Energy.
Make no mistake, Mr. Lensenhuber, we are not against wind energy that produces large amounts of electricity and does not drive nearby residents out of their homes with annoying noise and shadow flicker. We want any wind farm in Orangeville to be sited at adequate distances from residents, as the wind laws proposed by the citizens preservation groups ...The health, safety and welfare of the people of Orangeville must come before financial agendas! First do no harm!
Cherry Valley Supervisor Tom Garretson met with the town's Renewable and Alternative Energy Committee Tuesday night to continue the discussion of an East Hill wind farm. "I basically gave them some direction,'' Garretson said. "Right now it's exploratory - a fact-finding mission.''
What were the problems with Reunion Power's 24 windmills proposed for Cherry Valley's East Hill? Foremost, they presented an industrial use in a rural setting. Would a steel mill be appropriate on the rise above Route 20? Or a coal mine? Beyond that, there were concerns about noise, possible impacts on the health of people living in the vicinity, occasional transformer fires, interference with TV signals and degradation of property values.
The wind is picking up again. Town Supervisor Tom Garretson, worried that tax revenues will begin dropping due to the recession, has directed his Alternative Energy Committee to begin exploring what size wind farm can be accommodated on East Hill under the town's wind regulations.
Town of Wirt council members are looking into prospects of a wind farm following a presentation Monday in which a Wyoming County town supervisor described how windmills helped blow his hamlet through tough times. Eagle Town Supervisor Joe Kushner, along with Eagle deputy supervisor Tom Jacobs, described the process they endured with Noble Environmental Power.
Kenneth Walter, who has opposed the project since its inception in 2007, filed the suit in December of last year, claiming the approximately 265-foot turbine would be detrimental to property occupied by his mother, Alice Walter. Kenneth, in his capacity as trustee, claims the turbine would constitute an unreasonable intrusion on the quality of life of his mother.