In a county where roads are lined with crop farms and dairy farms, there’s at least one type of farm the Town of Lewiston is not quite ready to accept.
The Town Board last month enacted a temporary moratorium on wind energy development, precluding construction of wind farms or any type of windmill.
Officials want to enact a law on the issue before they have to deal with specific commercial or residential proposals.
Resident Emily Latko serves as chairwoman of the town’s seven-member Wind Energy Advisory Committee.
Since the mid-1990s, Latko has served on the town’s Tower Committee, created to deal with the development of cell phone towers in the town.
Now, for Lewiston, it’s windmills that are emerging as the next frontier.
“It’s something brand new,” Latko said.
Councilman Alfonso Marra Bax, himself an attorney, will also be involved in drafting the law.
Bax said the town has yet to be approached by any company looking to create a major wind energy project.
But that’s no reason to just sit around and wait, he said.
“We wanted to make sure the installation didn’t show up before the law was ready to accommodate,” he said.
Since the temporary moratorium was enacted, he has spoken with several residents interested in developing windmills.
The proposed new law would define requirements of windmill developers, including those that would protect the residents’ safety.
The wind committee is in the process of reviewing existing wind energy laws from municipalities across the state.
In July, the Town of Somerset became the first town in Niagara County with its own wind energy law.
The new law established an approval procedure through the town’s Planning Board.
Residential windmills there would be limited to a height of 150 feet. Commercial windmills could be up to 450 feet in height.
Commercial windmill developers are also required to restore the windmill site to its “natural condition” should the windmill for whatever reason become inoperable.
Latko said she encourages any town resident who wants to give input on the issue to contact the committee through the Town Hall at 754-8213.
By Aaron Besecker
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