I attended Reunion’s informational meeting on Oct. 5 and feel compelled to write. At this meeting, I learned several things from Reunion’s expert panel.
I thought the meeting was informational and shed some light on a few questions I had about the project. Here are a few highlights I found noteworthy.
Reunion has had turbines under their management in the Mid-West catch fire from lightning strikes and burn (Mr. Andrew D’Amico).
Reunion’s noise expert (George Hessler) has “No idea where the 50dbA sound pressure level comes from.”
Fifty decibels measured at nearby residences is the maximum sound level Reunion proposes.
Mr. Hessler suspects that “This (50dbA) is probably passed from ordinance to ordinance” across the state.
Mr. Hessler did say that the 50dbA is “Equivalent to urban traffic.” He also confirmed that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s level for noise above ambient is 6dbA.
This is where the noise will be noticed and is a point where potential mitigation may begin.
Mr. Hessler noted that it is more appropriate to measure noise above ambient than it is to set an arbitrary level.
Reunion’s environmental engineers, Environmental Design and Research (EDR) of Syracuse, agreed to the statement that if this project were successful these turbines would be the largest in New York and should require the largest setbacks in New York (John Hecklau). Reunion’s proposed setbacks are not the largest in NYS.
Reunion does NOT have plans in place for almost every element of this project. They will start these studies (transportation, viewshed analysis, sound studies etc.) once the SEQR process starts (David Little and Andrew D’Amico).
I asked the question, “Once the SEQR process starts isn’t everything after mitigation?” EDR’s answer was “Yes.” (John Hecklau and Dianne Enders).
In EDR’s experience (John Hecklau and Dianne Enders) no wind project EDR has worked on has been stopped by SEQR.
The current draft ordinance in front of the Town Board does not preclude the wind project. It has provisions for Reunion (or another developer) to cooperate with neighbors and secure easements if they are impacted by noise. According to David Little, under the Planning Board’s proposal, “We would have to deal with dozens and dozens of landowners and we believe this is excessive.”
To Mr. Little, I say, “Tough”. You asked for an ordinance, you got one. If you truly have the broad community support you say you do, secure those easements and build your project. Please leave our Town Board alone and let them make their decision.
I heard nothing at the Oct. 5 meeting that would cause the Town Board to reject the hard work that the Planning Board has put into the local wind ordinance. I believe the Planning Board has the protection of all the Town’s citizens in mind when they drafted this ordinance and it should stand without the influence of a developer pushing an agenda. This wind ordinance is the last chance for our leaders to plan the future of Cherry Valley because everything hereafter becomes mitigation.
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