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Gorham wants more time on turbine law  

The town’s moratorium on wind farms expired last Wednesday, but officials want to extend it 90 more days while they finish up work on a law to regulate turbines.

A hearing on the extension is set for Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.

Two councilmen, however, say another 90-day ban is unnecessary.

“We’ve been working a significant period of time on this,” said Councilman Fred Lightfoote. “I have a real problem with extensions.”

“We should have been able to get done what we needed in the time we had,” said Councilman William Glitch. “Moratoriums are a necessary evil, but I don’t like them.”

“It has been one year, I know that,” Supervisor Richard Calabrese said, “but we’ve had a lot of things that we have accomplished in zoning last year. This is pretty close to being accomplished.”

By adopting a moratorium, the town makes sure that any building application would have to comply with the new rules.

After the hearing on the moratorium, the Town Board will meet jointly with the planning and conservation boards to review the current proposal, which would allow for commercial wind farms, meaning those that sell electricity to the grid, in all but an area known as the limited development overlay district, a narrow band along the Canandaigua Lake shore.

“In the time we’ve been looking at this, there has been research going on. There are projects that complement wind turbines,” Lightfoote said, adding that the future might be about wind farms and their associated businesses.

“They’re using power from these structures. They’re splitting oxygen and hydrogen and coming up with hydrogen fuel. This makes it even more important to think ahead of the curve,” Lightfoote said.

“From what I’ve seen so far, I think wind farms are a good thing,” said Glitch. “They bring potential jobs and a potential boost in the economy – especially during construction,” he explained. “If I had the right piece of property, I’d put (a single, small windmill) in my backyard to power my house.”

Even Calabrese has spoken in favor of wind power in the past.

“They’re very quiet machines, useful and good,” Calabrese said recommending that roof mounted, personal turbines be allowed in all the zoning districts with the exception of a band along the eastern shore of Canandaigua Lake.

Wind farms that typically consist of many 400-foot-tall turbines might be allowed in the agricultural district, he suggested. Calabrese was determined not to follow the lead of Naples and South Bristol, which have effectively banned commercial wind farms.

“We’re not going to outlaw” wind turbines, said Calabrese. “We just need to regulate them.”

By Michele Cutri-Bynoe
Messenger Post Correspondent

mpnnow.com

26 February 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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