At the regular meeting of the Madison Town Board on Thursday April 12 citizens concerned about the proposed wind farm once again packed the house. Many questions focused on the relationship between the Town Board and the Planning Board and the functions and responsibilities of each in reviewing the application to site a 36-turbine wind farm off Bonney Hill Road.
Jane Welsh submitted to Town Supervisor Ron Bono a four-page draft of a new Local Law that would impose a 12-month moratorium on applications and proceedings as well as the issuance of approvals or permits for the construction of Wind Power Facilities (other than Residential Wind Power Facilities) within the Town of Madison. Welsh requested that the Board review the proposed law along with the Town attorney and consider adopting it. Many citizens expressed approval of enacting a moratorium in order to allow time to revise the special use permit regulations for wind energy that the Town adopted in April 2011. At the Planning Board meeting on April 4, Chair Roger Williams agreed that the regulations as currently written are inadequate “and need to be revised.”
After significant discussion, the Town Board agreed to convene a Special Joint Meeting of the Town and Planning Boards for the purpose of considering the proposed moratorium. Citizens at the meeting, joined together as “Madison Matters,” expressed their desire and willingness to work with both boards and offered their expertise and significant research undertaken to date.
The Special Joint Meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 25. Details of the location and time of the meeting will be posted at madisonmatters.org as soon as they are finalized.
Residents Contribute to Legal Fund
As of Friday, April 13, Madison Matters announced that, thanks to the generous contributions of numerous citizens, the Legal Fund created less than three weeks ago has reached the minimum goal necessary to retain a lawyer with expertise in representing citizen groups to protect their communities from corporate takeover should it become necessary to take the matter to court.
The public hearing on the proposed wind farm will be held on Wednesday April 18 at 7 pm at Madison Central School. This public hearing is the forum in which citizens can submit oral and written comments on the draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement. All comments then become part of the official record and must be taken into consideration during the Planning Board’s review process by which a decision will be made to grant or deny a special permit.
On Tuesday April 24 at 7 pm at the Masonic Lodge in Hamilton, Jonathan P. Knauth, a professional engineer, will give a presentation on “Wind Energy: What’s It All About?” Knauth will provide an overview of the economic and technical effectiveness of industrial wind power, as well as its impacts on the natural and human environments. His presentation is designed to assist communities in making informed judgments regarding the scope and siting of wind energy projects. This is an opportunity to hear an expert explain complicated scientific and engineering concepts in language that laypersons can understand.
Chris Hoffman is a freelance writer/reporter for the Madison County Courier.
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