Wind energy has become a growing concern for Orleans County residents as moratoriums have been in place throughout the county for an extended period of time.
“You’d be surprised the amount of people out there following windmills,” Councilwoman Jeannette Riley said Monday night.
In the Town of Albion, the moratorium on wind energy is going to expire on Thursday, said Town Clerk Sarah Basinait. To gauge the impact that meteorological towers would have on the community the board expressed a need for more information.
According to Councilwoman Judith Koehler, an informational meeting on wind energy will be held Feb. 26 with a presentation by Daniel Spitzer of Hodgson Russ LLC, a law firm in Buffalo, on the legal ins and outs of wind energy. The meeting is sponsored by the towns of Albion and Gaines.
Currently there are no laws in place for the Town of Albion to regulate meteorological towers or that test the feasibility of building wind mills in the area, according to Councilman Timothy Neilans.
The Albion Town Planning Board would have to come up with recommended zoning laws that would then go to the Orleans County Planning Board for approval prior to those laws going into effect, he said.
Before going so far as to change the local law, the board will hold a public hearing on March 12 for community members to have their say, Riley said.
“I think what’s probably critical is the community gets involved with learning more about the wind towers,” she said.
According to Riley, the presentation by Spitzer and the public hearing at the next board meeting will give residents a chance to learn about the impact the towers would have on the community.
“At this point we need to know if the community is in favor of these meteorological towers,” Neilans said.
There are plans for approximately 80 test towers in the towns of Albion and Gaines, according to attorney John Gavenda.
To keep conflicts of interest at bay, Neilans said the board is being “extremely cautious,” he said, relating a story about a five-member town board in Steuben County. Three of the members had been approached about hosting wind towers and two had signed contracts when wind energy went up for a vote; the third member had the contract sitting on his desk but wouldn’t sign it until after rendering a decision so as to ensure the board would still have a majority vote, according to Neilans.
“We need to be very cautious as far as if people are being approached about these … towers,” Neilans said.
By Miranda Vagg
(585) 798-1400, Ext. 2225
13 February 2007
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