One by one, residents in the Town of Hamlin stood during the public hearing, stated their names and asked the board to approve a moratorium on wind tower construction in their town. The gymnasium in the town building was full to standing room only for the March 12 hearing.
Barb Brown and her husband, Ronald, had sent an e-mail to town officials urging that the moratorium be approved. She also attended the meeting to reinforce her comments. Matt MacDonald said, “All eyes in Monroe County are on you regarding this issue. It would be wise to proceed cautiously,” he said, adding that he wanted the town to impose a moratorium.
Supervisor Dennis Roach read into the record two e-mail messages and said the town had received a letter signed by 102 residents urging the board to impose the moratorium.
Less than 30 minutes into the public hearing, Roach closed it, and asked board members for a resolution. It was approved by a three to zero margin. Board member Paul Rath abstained as he is one of the landowners who has been approached by a wind tower company. Board member David Rose was out of town but sent a proxy vote, which Roach read into the record even though there was no precedent for accepting proxy votes.
The moratorium will be in place until January 2008, during which time the nine-member Wind Tower Committee will research the pros and cons of wind tower placement in the town. Those on the committee are: Jerry Borkholder, Linda DeRue, Ed Evans, Edward Haight, David Lukas, Art McFarlane, Glen Quetschenbach, Mark Reeves and Andrew Simpson. The group is charged with determining whether wind towers are in the best interest of the entire town and with developing regulations appropriate to their determination.
Committee members meet two times a month with one meeting being a public forum, the other a work session for committee members.
Hamlin is currently home to two 200-foot tall MET (meteorological towers) that are collecting wind speed and direction information to gauge whether the town is a viable site for future wind towers.
While there may have been other individuals in the audience opposed to the moratorium, Linda Morey, a town planning board member, voiced her opposition to the moratorium. “I think individuals have the right to bring proposals before the boards for property use. As long as the rules and guidelines are followed, it is the right of the property owner to make application,” she said. “It’s not fair to the landowners.”
According to the town’s website in the section devoted to wind towers, (http://www.hamlinny.org/wind-tower.html) Town Supervisor Dennis Roach reported that he was advised, shortly before taking office in January 2006, that an out-of-state developer was negotiating land lease agreements with some major land owners in the northwest quadrant of the town, which is included within the town’s extensive agricultural district, where wind feasibility maps indicate a potential for wind energy development.
The Wind Tower Committee will bring recommendations before the board in December.
18 March 2007
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