Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from New York
Taking a position championed by a prominent wind farm development critic, the Jefferson County Planning Board urged the town of Clayton to include stricter regulations on sound levels in the town's proposed amendment for wind development.
"So on clear nights, the noise the turbines will be allowed to make will be a 20- to 30-decibel increase over ambient noise," said Charles E. Ebbing, a Grindstone Island resident and retired acoustic engineer. "And that will mean loss of sleep. When you disrupt sleep, you're going to have health problems."
Two setback standards, including how close wind turbines should be allowed to Hammond Central School and the distance they should be set back from the St. Lawrence River, dominated the evening's conversation.
Board members unanimously approved the new law at Wednesday's meeting. It replaces previous regulations enacted in 2006. Height is now limited to 125 feet, with a maximum nameplate rating of 110 kilowatts. No shadow flicker will be allowed except on the owner's property.
Iberdrola Renewables last week asked the Town Council to keep in place its "reasonable" wind law and not adopt the recommendations of the town's wind advisory committee.
Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor, who voted against stricter regulations on wind development exactly a year ago today, called for a far stricter set of criteria for commercial wind farms to follow that would have an impact on any projects proposed for the town.
The law is designed to prevent large-scale commercial efforts, such as those in Altona and Ellenburg, and bar any large commercial towers in the Town of Plattsburgh.
Town officials are returning to original setback distances and an altered version of a noise standard first proposed in 2009 for its wind energy facilities law.
The ordinance includes rules for commercial wind energy facilities on permits, approvals, oversight and operations. It is designed for municipalities in New York, but could be modified for use in other states. The center will issue a revised version after receiving comments on this draft. But locals who have worked for protective wind power ordinances here don't think the law will stand up to scrutiny.
The committee voted 9-1, with leaseholder Michele W. McQueer casting the opposing vote, to recommend noise limits proposed by sound expert Paul D. Schomer. He proposed three separate limits for different times of the day and night, including 45 decibels between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., 40 decibels between 7 and 10 p.m. and 35 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The law was tabled at an Oct. 26 meeting because some wording contradicted other elements of the statute. Those contradictions have been fixed since that meeting. Ms. Parker-Lane said eventually the town would like to allow private wind towers, but until the board is able to work out those details, the ban will remain in effect.
"We're conflicting on this, but effectively what we are trying to do is pass a law that is going to basically not allow commercial wind farms in the town of Henderson," he said. Mr. Walker said the board is working on provisions that will allow private windmills. Until that can be agreed on, the law is tabled.
Cape Vincent has no agreement of any kind on setbacks, no agreed-on ambient background sound levels and no discussion of noise complaint policy ...It is reckless and irresponsible to enter Site Plan Review without first coming to some consensus on setbacks and ambient sound levels.
Mr. Schneider said that in Cape Vincent and other communities along the Golden Crescent, a two-and-a-half mile setback has been established from the shoreline. "The waterfront must be protected. That's our industry. That's where 75 percent of the tax base comes from," he said.
Residents slammed the proposal at the meeting, as many of them have done in the past. They alleged that the plan has the potential to negatively impact wildlife and the ecosystem at the property, which is located on wetlands. The board granted an adjournment, but not an indefinite one—it will extend only till March 9, 2011, according to Chairman Harry Ludlow.
He described last week's sound study session with Charles E. Ebbing. "A group of six or seven people - three or four from the wind committee, and two or three others from the community - met with Chuck last week," Mr. Papke reported, to learn how to use sound meters.
At its meeting Wednesday, the council voted 4-1 to allow the law firm Hancock & Estabrook LLP, Syracuse, to write a law that would ban all commercial wind development in the town.
Following the meeting, Cindy L. Grant, a member of Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization, said the environmental impact statement's validity is marred by ethics complaints being investigated by the attorney general. "This is a place where people live their whole lives and want to retire here," she said. "How can a board that is as compromised as this one make any decisions?"
The only people present at a public comment period on the Enfield wind farm project Wednesday were town board members, representatives of the project, and curious onlookers. No one spoke during the brief comment period at the Town of Enfield board meeting.
It should be noted that two other Planning Board members have wind conflicts, and the lack of a specific wind law would be of great advantage to wind leaseholders like Mr. Edsall and the wind developers. With no wind law, this would bring the control of wind development almost entirely under the control of Mr. Edsall and his conflicted board allowing wide latitude for turbine placement.