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Centerville town council passes new windmill law

Earlier this week the Town of Centerville town council adopted a law regulating windmills; now according to Centerville Town Supervisor Frank Sardina the town is ready to accept applications from any windmill farm developers.

“This is a huge milestone for Centerville,” said Sardina. He also said he believes, “It’s a very good thing for Centerville.”

A year ago, a representative of Noble Environmental Power, located locally in Arcade, approached the newly elected town supervisor (Sardina) about the possibility of constructing a wind farm in the town. The proposal was for the installation of 67 windmills on land acquired by the company.

After the initial contact the town appointed a wind power committee to investigate the pros and cons. After several months of investigation which included visiting wind farms, the board was ready to look at it legally.

It hired Attorney Daniel Spitzer of Hodgson Russ in Buffalo, after finding Spitzer had written laws for and against wind farms for six towns.

Previously Sardina said, “the board wanted someone who is unbiased to show the people the town board wasn’t pushing a windfarm for the credibility of the law.”

“Spitzer appeared to represent the client whether or not his client is for or against windmills,” Sardinia said.

The law was written according to the standards in New York State.

“He (Spitzer) used the standard law which is used across the state and tweaked it to the needs of Centerville,” Sardina said.

Concerning the new law the Sardina said. “Right off the bat the board is very relieved. It’s always an adventure investigating this kind of a project. It’s a relief to bring it this far.”

While a few people attended the meeting Sardina said they did not bring up any objections to the new law.

In the past however residents were concerned about the board moving too fast on the project and they were concerned about the required setbacks of 1,000 feet from residences for windmill towers.

“They had no real basis why the set back should be changed,” Sardina said. In the law the setback remains 1,000 feet.

Under the new law once an application is received from a developer, Sardina said the application will be compared for compliance to the new law. The law is limited to only windmills used to produce energy and does not include small windmills which would be used to draw water.

No windmills are grandfathered in under the new law, Sardina said, “because there are no windmills in Centerville.”

Several months ago three monitoring towers were located in Centerville to measure wind variables.

There is only one developer who has “the rights” to develop a windfarm in Centerville. Sardina said Independent Operators have sealed the territory and Noble has the territory in which Centerville is located.

Noble, is currently getting ready to construct a windfarm in Eagle in the Town of Bliss, a short distance from Centerville.

Concerning the Centerville proposal, Bob Maxwell, development manager for Noble Environmental Power said the construction of a total of 67 windmills is still being considered. “Depending on the unit (windmill) which is used that number (67) can only “go down” not up,” he has said.

By Kathryn Ross/Daily Reporter