CANAJOHARIE — During last Thursday’s Town Board of Canajoharie meeting, the board appointed the Town Planning Board as lead agency responsible for completing a SEQRA report in regards to a local law the town hopes to adopt, titled “Wind Energy Facility Law of the Town of Canajoharie.”
The SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) report is a basic environmental quality report, which will detail the environmental impact the law will have, if any, if adopted. It was up to the town board to appoint either themselves, the planning board, or the Montgomery County Planning Board as lead agency. They chose to keep the process local and appoint the Town Planning Board, as they’re familiar with the local law.
The local law, #1 of 2012, outlines its purpose — “to promote an effective and efficient use of the town’s wind energy resource through Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) and to regulate the placement of such systems so that public health, safety, and welfare shall not be jeopardized.”
While the findings of the local law state that “wind energy is an abundant, renewable and nonpolluting energy resource,” and “the generation of electricity from properly sited Wind Energy Facilities, including small systems, can be cost effective,” it noted that “regulation of the siting and installation of Wind Energy Facilities is necessary for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and welfare of neighboring property owners and the general public,” as “Wind Energy Facilities represent significant potential aesthetic impacts because of their size, lighting and shadow flicker effects, if not properly sited.”
The law, which the town board has no time frame to adopt, also details what types of permits are necessary to construct, reconstruct, or operate a wind tower in the town of Canajoharie.
Once the SEQRA review is complete, plans will be passed on to the Montgomery County Planning Board, and a public hearing will be scheduled in the town of Canajoharie.