The Perry Town Board met Wednesday, September 13 to discuss possible changes to a local law regarding wind towers.
Officials voted to move the public hearing concerning wind towers from October 9 to October 16, due to a schedule conflict for the town attorney. When townspeople complained that travelers had already made plans and taken off work for the October 9 meeting Supervisor James Brick retorted “We’re meeting for the people in Perry, not for the people away from Perry.”
Independent insurance agent Linda Kruszka addressed the board and public concerning liability issues. Liability involves the injury and damage of others on your property, she said. It does not include damages to your own property or person.
“You can’t collect on your own personal injury or property damage,” she said. So if a turbine were to fall on the landowner’s house, the owner would be responsible to pay for damages, not the turbine company or the liability insurance.
In talking to different insurance companies, Linda learned that if turbines were put up, some insurance companies would cancel mid-term and get off the policy immediately. Others would consider the landowner a business because of the presence of wind towers.
“Every company writes on different paper,” she warned.
“You’re not going to get an across the board answer from every insurance company.” She offered a second warning to those wanting to place windmills on their land. “Have an attorney review the contract. Have it work to your advantage.” Above all she stressed extreme caution and a close viewing of the fine print before making a decision.
The board opened discussion to the public. Several citizens addressed the board with comments for and against wind energy in Perry.
The planning board had been working on a series of changes to a local law that would increase the distance a tower needs to be from an established residence from 1,500 to 1,750 feet. The town board and planning board were scheduled to go into executive session with the town attorney following the public meeting.
Resident Valary Sahrle addressed the board, saying that an executive session was illegal. Many in the crowd stood to protest the executive session as Sahrle and Attorney Dadd discussed the matter. After much deliberation, Dadd suggested that no executive meeting be held that evening.
“Let’s not let this turn into a legal issue about an executive session,” he said.
He informed the public and the board that “the existing procedure and process is more than adequate for the Town of Perry to ensure that a project that you don’t want to happen will not happen.”
He continued that if the town passed a moratorium or tried to change the local law mid-stream, they would open themselves to a lawsuit from Horizon.
By: Katie Childs
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