The Hoosick Falls Town Council plans a workshop to examine model laws and consider its own on the regulation of windmills in town.
At Monday’s board meeting, Town Supervisor Marilyn Douglas said she had received a letter from the Capital District Regional Planning Commission asking her to complete a questionnaire about windmills.
“I also asked them at that point if they could send me any model legislation for … control of wind systems,” she said. “There’s a lot to be thought about and a lot of issues to be addressed.”
Some people have inquired whether Hoosick Falls has such regulations, officials said.
The commission directed Douglas to legislation from the town of Clinton in Dutchess County, which was adopted in 2005. She gave this to her fellow board members, as well as another such law, which the town of Fairfield in Herkimer County adopted in 2006.
The Clinton law regulates both wind farms and small wind energy conversion systems designed for homes, farms and small commercial properties meant to reduce the consumption of utility power at that location.
“It’s becoming more of a local concern now in New York state because of the crunch in energy. And people are putting up their own wind towers and probably need to be regulated,” Douglas said.
“If you want to compare to it, you should compare it to the cell towers. Think what our town would be if we didn’t have any law regulating cell towers. We have a very strict law on cell towers,” she said. “They do have to come in, and what they have to do is … up front the engineering charges and consulting charges. This is what they’re recommending in this legislation.”
The Clinton law covers such things as what happens if the owner no longer wants the windmill. “So you also have to set a bond to give to the town, so that there will be removal (funds) in the future,” she said. “This is a well thought out law.”
Issues regulated in the Clinton and Fairfield laws include noise, setbacks from neighbors, the color of units and means to keep unauthorized people from climbing up them.
By Mark E. Rondeau
15 March 2007
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