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East Hill Wind Law Proposed  

What did Reunion Power executives say about the Town of Cherry Valley’s revised proposed law to regulate wind-turbine development?

“Nothing that’s publishable,” said Walter Buist, town planning board member.

The proposed ordinance, adopted by the planning board Wednesday, Sept. 6, was due before the town board Thursday, Sept. 14, as this edition went to press, and it includes provisions that may make development of a 24-turbine wind farm on East Hill impossible. (For a report on that meeting, visit www.freemansjournal.com Friday morning, Sept. 15.)

Buist was asked about the new law in the absence of Planning Board Chairman Jeffrey Wait, who was “on the road” on business. Most significant, he said, is the proposed setback requirement: Any wind turbine must be at least 1,200 feet from the nearest property line, and 2,000 feet from the nearest off-site home.

Lynn Marsh from Advocates for Cherry Valley, which opposes the Reunion proposal, said the setback requirement “will eliminate some of the turbines.”

The setbacks also protect property owners in the neighboring towns of Sharon Springs and Roseboom. “You have to be concerned about your neighbors,” she said.

Buist singled out other significant components:

* A complaint process. Anyone who violates the terms of the law would face fines up to $350 and up to six months in prison.

* Property valuation. All applications must include a property-value analysis by a licensed appraiser on properties surrounding a wind project. While the law contains no provisions to reimburse property owners for lost value, at least, Buist said, it establishes a baseline.

* Noise. The proposal is based on the more stringent noise levels set by the state Department of Environmental Protection, not the less stringest ones devised by NYSERDA, the state Energy Research and Development Agency, which is charged with promoting wind farms.

The Town of Fenner, which hosts nine turbines, is flat; Lowville, home of the 120-turbine Maple Ridge Wind Farm, slopes gradually.

Cherry Valley, with its “high ridges,” offers an “opportunity for very complex noise patterns, when you have these hills and valleys,” Buist said.

The ordinance also proposed the “lead agency” be the planning board.

Buist said the new proposal was a melding of the original wind ordinance developed by Town Attorney Lynn Green and one developed by the Town of Clinton, near Plattsburgh, where residents of that town and neighboring Ellenburg are suing to block Noble Environmental Power, owned by J.P. Morgan Partners, which is planning the 55-turbine Ellenburg Wind Farm.

The proposal was reviewed by the law firm hired by the town for this purpose, Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece of Syracuse, and its consulting engineer, LaBella Associates of Rochester. Reunion’s agreement with the town requires the energy company to pay the town’s consulting fees.

The town board meeting with address a related issue: Appointments to fill planning-board vacancies.

The planning board has nominated Carol Minnich, who Buist said is already advising the planners; Leonard Press, who has a degree in rural planning from the University of Oregon, and Richard Mark, an East Hill homeowner who recently, in a letter to the editor, said people who don’t like the way the Town of Cherry Valley is being run should leave.

Efforts Wednesday evening to reach Supervisor Tom Garretson or officials of Reunion Power in Manchester, Vt., were unsuccessful.

thefreemansjournal.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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