The Bovina Town Board adopted a local law Tuesday banning industrial and residential wind-energy systems, but the decision wasn’t unanimous.
Councilman Randall Inman cast the only dissenting vote in a 3-1 decision after stating that the Alliance for Bovina “distorted the truth and used scare tactics to sway public opinion” about wind energy.
A final public hearing, held before the board convened a special meeting to adopt the proposed local law, brought out a crowd of about 50 people.
Ten people commented on the law, suggesting changes that should be made before the board made a final decision.
Marian Jardine, a longtime Bovina resident and former teacher, said, “I am against passage (of the law) because I would like to see wind turbines. I am concerned when we have a nice, clean way of producing energy. Producing energy by burning wood, like the project at the college in Delhi, is much worse than the noise or whistling.”
Ed Rossley said the board had done its job, but suggested that the law should have provisions for special permits for residential wind systems, rather than “saying no completely.”
Carver Farrell added “limiting right for residents to generate their own energy is not good for this town.”
Neil Bevilacqua said the wording of the law contained “nimbus, fuzzy terms.” He added that “descriptions of what might happen in the future should be clearer.”
Luke Dougherty said he didn’t agree with banning residential wind systems when “we need alternative solutions to the energy crisis.”
Kevin Brown said people should have a right to have a backup energy system to use at their residence. He added that in 10 years, “wind power is going to be a public utility, whether people like it or not.”
Larry Karam, Alliance for Bovina spokesman, said he believed the board had come to the right decision but added that the wording of a section allowing small wind-energy conversion systems for farms might allow the installation of multiple wind turbines.
Peter Henner, Alliance for Bovina attorney, lauded the board for consulting with special land-use attorney Rosemary Nichols but then offered to reword the section dealing with farm wind-energy systems.
Each of the Bovina Town Board members read prepared statements outlining their reasoning on the proposed law before the vote.
Councilman Charles McIntosh said he hoped that the town had not “let an opportunity slide away.”
He said the benefits of wind power might outweigh the disadvantages, but he was voting for the law because the material presented to the board showed that a large majority of town residents were opposed to industrial turbines and that there was not a clear majority in favor of residential systems.
“Majority rules,” McIntosh said. “I hope the divisiveness stops in Bovina and we can continue to live and work together as a community.”
Councilman Ken Brown said the board it had been a long and difficult year filled with intimidation and accusations.
“I must place my support with the majority point of view,” Brown said.
Karen Brain, wife of the late Councilman Roger Brain, read a statement he prepared before his death Jan. 29.
Brain had written that the insinuations and accusations made during the hearings on the issue of wind power had made him question whether it was worth serving the community in an elected position.
“We did not deserve all we went through during the process,” Roger Brain wrote.
By Patricia Breakey
Delhi News Bureau
14 March 2007
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