By Tiffany Edwards
DRYDEN – Residents of the Town of Dryden moved one step closer to generating their own sustainable energy Thursday night, when the Dryden Town Board agreed on the county’s first zoning provisions for household wind and solar energy systems.
The town previously rejected requests for permits due to a lack of guidelines for installing renewable energy equipment. While the board seemed pleased to be moving forward, some in the audience felt the law needs revisions. A public hearing on the law is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at the fire hall.
After complimenting the efforts of the town board and the conservation advisory board in putting the ordinance together, Ron Szymanski criticized the document for setting too many limitations.
“I believe this is a restrictive law to alternative energy. I also believe it encourages air and water pollution, and I believe that it hurts local business activity,” said Szymanski, an eight-year resident of Dryden who studied mechanical engineering and alternative energy at Brown University. “I don’t think this is a progressive law for the Town of Dryden; it is a restrictive law.”
Szymanski cited the Renewable Portfolio Standard passed by the state Assembly, which set a goal of the state’s generating 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2013. Under this directive, the state supports 125 kilowatts for a farming operation. However, the Dryden Town ordinance would only approve 10 kilowatts without special review. Szymanski also deemed the $250 application fee as prohibitive.
“However you read this law, please don’t take it as we’re opposed to wind energy,” said chairman Martin Christofferson. “We’ve worked very hard to get this thing going because there are people who want to develop it.”
“This is the first step,” said Mary Ann Sumner, town board member who introduced the law. “Let’s start somewhere.”
The ordinance addresses small-scale business and residential wind and solar energy. As the law currently stands, provision will be made for wind energy systems less than 140 feet high.
Only one system per lot is permitted, unless the applicant can show outstanding need. Placement of wind towers will be dependent on proximity to adjacent property, public highways, power lines, Important Bird Areas (as identified by the N.Y. Audubon) and state wetlands.
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