Town officials accepted 820 letters from residents opposed to industrial wind turbines Wednesday night before returning to work on a local ordinance to regulate them.
Reginald Oberlag, a spokesman for the Western Catskills Preservation Alliance, said the board was presented the results of a survey that asked 4,364 taxpayers in the towns of Stamford, Roxbury and Gilboa for their opinions on the wind-power issue.
The survey got a 20 percent response, Oberlag said, which “demonstrated an overwhelming concern” to plans by a Chicago-based company that wants to erect industrial wind turbines along a mountain ridge between Stamford and Roxbury.
Town officials were also given the positive responses to the mailing, of which Oberlag said numbered 21.
The mailing results WCPA presented to town officials consisted of signed form letters, similar in text, but edited slightly to address specific concerns for each town. Those who received them in the mail simply had to provide their signature and return them.
Among other concerns, the opponents agreed the wind turbines will “spoil the natural beauty of the Catskills,” reduce property values and have a negative long-term economic impact on the region.
About 25 members of the WCPA attended Wednesday’s regular meeting of the town board, although no time had been set aside for public comment. The meeting was uneventful, Councilwoman Katherine Engert said, and town officials spent most of it working on a wind-turbine ordinance.
Stamford is one of five towns in Delaware County that is considering wind-turbine plans, and opposition groups have popped up in each community. A moratorium on their construction in Stamford, enacted to give officials time to study the issue, expires in February.
Engert said the ordinance being considered in Stamford will permit the siting of wind turbines there, but will impose limits on their numbers, height, noise levels, setbacks, and other restrictions.
“I hate to see all the stress in the community it has caused,” said Engert, a 13-year veteran of the board. “The majority doesn’t seem to want them.”
Invenergy Wind has not prepared the final plans for its wind-farm project in Stamford, and the firm’s director of business development, David Groberg, said last month the company is waiting to see what local law will require of them.
The company hopes, though, to build 34 industrial wind turbines on the 6-mile Moresville ridgeline. Company officials said the “moderate size” wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 45,000 “typical” New York homes.
Invenergy could pay $800,000 in taxes to local governments and another $600,000 a year in royalties to landowners, according to the firm. About five new jobs would be created with a payroll of about $200,000 per year.
The turbines are an estimated 410 feet in height.
Gilboa residents in neighboring Schoharie County will have a “front-row seat to the devastation,” said the WPCA.
The alliance charged the Stamford board was “needlessly rushing the process of (article ends)
By Dana Cudmore
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