Residents will not see any large-scale turbines spinning in Uxbridge for at least another year, after a bylaw was passed Monday morning.
Council adopted a recommendation from Heather Brooks, manager of development services, to extend a bylaw set last December prohibiting wind structures over 144 feet tall for a year, to allow the Township time to develop a policy and Official Plan amendments in regard to them.
The turbine policy, adopted following public review in September, states large commercial turbines are allowed outside Uxbridge’s urban area so long as the builder mitigates any visual or lighting or other physical impacts including shadow flicker impacts, electromagnetic impacts and overshadowing, all concerns raised at prior public meetings regarding a planned wind farm project at 10700 Durham Rd. 1.
But the Township was served notice in October from David Winnitoy, solicitor for Michael Gerstner, property owner of the property, challenging the Official Plan amendments. Mr. Gerstner, along with Indigo Wind Energy Systems Inc., plans to erect three, 320-foot commercial turbines on the land.
The hand-delivered notice also included application for an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing on the matter. Mr. Winnitoy argues that, “Official Plan Amendment (No. 40) is not consistent with the policies set out in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005.
“The policies in (the amendment) are vague in that they require visual, noise, shadow flicker, electromagnetic interference, overshadowing and other physical impacts of Wind Power Facilities to be appropriately mitigated without providing any indication as to what level of mitigation is appropriate, nor recognizing that it may not be possible or necessary to mitigate all impacts.”
At council’s meeting Monday, Dec. 11, Chief Administrative Officer Alex Grant said there is only “a potential of an (OMB) hearing.” Ms. Brook’s report from the same meeting notes “an appeal to the Official Plan Amendment was received and has been forwarded to the (OMB). A hearing date has not been set.”
Mr. Grant noted an application from Mr. Gerstner to actually build the turbines has not yet been received by the Township.
Mr. Gerstner and his wife Phyllis, threatened to take Uxbridge to the OMB following the passing of the first interim control bylaw passed last December. But in late May, the Township entered into a ‘minutes of settlement’ with the Gerstners, who subsequently dropped the appeal. The agreement outlined that the Township would keep the Gerstners informed of its environmental screening and turbine testing process in return for withdrawal from the OMB process.
“We believe in the sincerity of the Township,” Ms. Gerstner previously told the Times-Journal.
By Jeff Hayward Staff Writer
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