Town board members unanimously agreed Monday to place a six-month moratorium on the construction of wind turbines, giving them more time to discuss the issue.
“We know it’s coming. Wayne County’s been looking into wind mills,” Supervisor Norm Teed said after Monday’s meeting. “It’s an option that we haven’t discounted yet, and we want to get some community input.”
Planning Board Chairman Don Springer said his board will take up the issue at its next meeting, on Jan. 26.
“We’re not looking to discourage it. We want people to be able to have them and operate them safely,” he said.
He noted that Lyons and Naples recently voted to allow wind energy production in their towns and said that California gets around 20 percent of its electricity from wind.
Taking note of nearby wind power developments, several residents have approached companies about opening their lands to the turbines.
The town of Fenner, in Madison County, is home to 20 wind turbines, and the wind farm at Tug Hill, near Watertown, Jefferson County, has more than 100.
“There are a lot of companies that want to go with wind power,” said Rick Eldridge, one such resident. “The town of Phelps would be crazy if [it doesn’t] jump on board.”
The benefits of local wind farms would be two-fold, Eldridge said. Companies would lease the land the turbines are on, providing revenue to farms and businesses, and they’d provide cheaper energy.
He said he contacted Canadian Vision Quest Windelectric last spring for an informational packet. The company expressed interest in his property, Eldridge said, provided that the town had a welcoming climate.
“They don’t want to waste their time moving into a town that’s opposed to wind power or a place that has a lot of protesters,” he said.
Wind power has proven to be a controversial issue, with protesters popping up in towns that want to allow the mills.
Turbines are remarkably quiet, Eldridge said, and the only other drawback is the flickering shadow produced by the rotating blades. Some companies, though, plant trees to mitigate that effect, he said.
Former anti-wind mill crusader and billionaire Tom Golisano recently flipped on the issue, starting Empire State Wind Co. and visiting around 20 communities to pitch the idea of building farms.
Golisano’s conversion gives Eldridge hope that the town will actively take up and promote the building of wind farms.
“I think they’re open to the idea, but they’re not sure what path to take,” he said.
By Mike Maslanik
Finger Lakes Times
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