Larry Wilcox is co-chairman of a group of Arkwright residents who have organized themselves under the name Neighbors Informed about Clean Energy to support the development of wind turbines in Arkwright.
Wilcox said the group also wants to help Chautauqua County residents become knowledgeable about wind projects and help them become better informed about clean alternatives to growing energy demands.
“˜”˜We believe a majority of Arkwright’s residents support wind power development. We believe it’s a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.
The Arkwright Town Board recently adopted a local law that establishes regulations and sets the parameters regarding the construction of the wind turbines after the wind turbine issue was studied for more than two years and a number of discussions were held at town board meetings where public opinions, both pro and con, were shared.
The resulting local law was drafted by Daniel Spitzer, an attorney who is considered an expert in wind energy and practices with Hodgson-Russ, a broad-based legal firm with offices in Buffalo. Spitzer was hired by the Arkwright board to provide a proposed local law that would meet the needs of the community.
“˜”˜The law does not say yes or no. It says maybe,” Spitzer said.
He said the company wishing to construct the wind turbines in Arkwright will have to apply for a special use permit and follow the rules and regulations that are outlined in the law. Horizon Wind Energy, a company with an office in Fredonia, has been soliciting contracts with residents whose property falls within the designated development area.
Lawrence Griffin, a Horizon Wind Energy land and utility consultant, said several residents have signed agreements, but the actual construction won’t begin anytime soon. Before an application can be made, he said, the state has to first accept the local law approved by the board.
Griffin said once the state approves the resolution, the application process could be lengthy. He said wind turbine construction won’t begin until 2008, at the earliest. The area where the wind turbines could be installed needs to be narrowed down, he says, and no site specific locations have been identified as yet.
“˜”˜There may be no more than 40 towers constructed, maybe less,” he said.
Larry Ball, Arkwright town council member, said when he campaigned for the office, although he had reservations, he was “˜”˜open to wind turbine development in the town.”
“˜”˜I visited three different wind turbine development sites and became convinced this was the right thing to do in Arkwright,” he said.
Fred Norton, town supervisor, also supports the development of wind power in Arkwright.
“˜”˜Our town has a real revenue problem. We haven’t had the funds available to meet the standards the public wants. The income from the wind towers will provide the money, along with stabilizing the taxes,” he said.
Norton said the income the towers will generate could help pay for a community center and improve town roads.
“˜”˜Concern has been expressed about preserving the rural nature and character of Arkwright. I believe the tower’s permitted location will do this,” he said.
By Joan Josephson
25 March 2007
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