Reunion Power will hold a seminar on wind turbines Thursday at the Old School Cafe in the Cherry Valley Community Center.
The firm, which is based in Manchester, Vt., has proposed erecting 24 wind turbines on East Hill in the town of Cherry Valley.
At public hearings hosted by the Cherry Valley Town Board in July and September, far more opponents than supporters of this proposal spoke out. But many people in the town did not attend either meeting, David Little, Reunion’s project in Cherry Valley, noted Monday.
“I’m still encouraged by the support we find for this project in Cherry Valley,” he said.
Little said many people have encouraged him and others from the company to persevere until the wind turbines are erected.
Thursday’s session will be informal, he said.
“We’ve asked some experts in different areas to be there so people can have their questions answered,” he said.
A noise expert, George Hessler of Hessler Associates, a firm based in Virginia, will speak about how sounds are diminished over distance, he said.
A representative of the state Department of Environmental Conservation also has been asked to participate in the forum and will answer questions about the state’s environmental quality review law, Little said.
The forum comes as the town board prepares to consider a wind ordinance proposed by the town’s Planning Board. Among many provisions in this proposal are minimum distances that turbines must be sited from adjacent property lines and maximum allowable levels for noise, also as measured at property lines.
The local law would assure that turbines are at least 2,000 feet from the nearest off-site residence and 1,200 feet from the nearest lot line. Noise levels from the turbines could measure no more than six decibels above background levels at property lines.
Little has said the proposed setback and noise requirements are too stringent, but Monday he stopped short of saying that the proposed ordinance, as written, would cause the company to withdraw from Cherry Valley.
“We want to see a wind law that protects residents, but allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of a wind farm,” he said.
Andrew Minnig, an organizer with the Cherry Valley Advocates, a group that has opposed siting large wind turbines in Cherry Valley, said he hopes for a large turnout again Thursday.
“I don’t know if we’ll see quite as many people there as came out last Monday,” he said. “People do get weary of this, but I think many will come and try to have their questions answered.”
Minnig disputed the notion that a silent majority in Cherry Valley is strongly in favor of the project.
“If they’re here, why haven’t they been able to come a meeting or let others know how they feel?” he asked.
Minnig said the Advocates have remained strong because the group is growing as more people learn about the negative effects that large wind turbines could have on their health and their property values.
“I think the time has come to ask the question of whether some places like Cherry Valley are just not appropriate for wind turbines,” he said.
By Tom Grace
Cooperstown News Bureau
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