The Hornellsville town board discussed the benefits and drawbacks of a wind farm at its meeting night.
With the Steuben County towns of Howard and Hartsville set to vote this week on wind laws developed for these communities, Hornellsville is still in the talking phase. Hornellsville still has a moratorium on wind farm development in place.
One opponent of Howard’s wind farm – Howard resident Eric Hosmer- was on hand at the meeting. He spoke about the impact of the turbines- usually between 400-450 feet tall – particularly the sound the windmills make.
When spinning, the blades can make a pulsing or squeaking sound, Hosmer said, adding the sound was similar to bass coming from a stereo. He also raised concerns about the impact of electromagnetic fields created by the turbines on children living nearby. Strong fields can cause health problems in developing children, Hosmer said. The turbines also may create a visual effect known as a “flicker,” where light and shadow alternate rapidly.
Residents that allow construction of turbines on their property are paid by wind farm companies, but Hornellville resident Barbara Kull was skeptical of the trade-off.
“What if you’re living right under it?” she said. “Does money make up for that?”
Supervisor Ken Isaman said Hornellsville would take people’s concerns into account when a wind law is drafted.
“What we’ve got to do is develop a law that’s bulletproof on both sides,” he said.
The board agreed to obtain a written proposal from Buffalo lawyer Dan Spitzer, a specialist in wind energy issues. Spitzer has helped draft wind laws for several townships.
In other business, Steuben County Commissioner of Public Works Vincent Spagnoletti introduced the county’s new Highway Engineer, Peter Messmer. Messmer, who graduated from Cornell’s Civil Engineering program, has had extensive experience in the field of rural road design.
“[He] is widely known as one of the top rural road design engineers in New York state,” said Spagnoletti in a letter. “We are fortunate to have him with us.”
By Ryan Westerdahl
13 March 2007
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