Beware of wind farms, St. Lawrence County towns.
That’s the message from the county’s Planning Board and Environmental Management Council, which are teaming on a model wind farm ordinance that’ll be available this summer to municipalities faced with an alternative-energy proposal.
“It basically sets some ground rules if you’re thinking about wind towers,” said Jason C. Pfotenhauer, deputy county planning director. “You can roll it into zoning if you have zoning, or pass it by itself.”
The ordinance is part of the two voluntary boards’ goal of educating towns – which have yet to see a formal proposal even though there are two test towers in the county – on the massive projects that are lauded for producing alternative energy and panned as eyesores. The idea is to be proactive.
“I think it’s an inevitable development,” said G. Roy Horst, an EMC member on the joint committee.
The committee invited three speakers to lecture later this month on negotiating with wind power developers. The speakers – Robert S. Juravich, executive director of the Development Authority of the North Country, Kevin R. McAuliffe, of Green & Seifter Attorneys, Syracuse, and Keith D. Pitman, President and CEO of Empire State Wind Energy, Oneida – made a similar presentation in January in Clayton.
“Communities need to realize that slow and easy is the best way to go,” said David B. Duff, a planning board member on the committee. “We are woefully unprepared to be an equal player. If you’re going to play in this game, you’ve got to be prepared.”
The model ordinance, and perhaps a report suggesting what issues municipalities should investigate before approving projects, could be available by June.
The ordinance will touch on physical aspects such as locations for the 400-foot structures, as well outline procedures to be followed, such as making developers study and file reports on environmental effects.
“The gut reaction is: ‘Let’s go for it.’ When you do that, you open yourself to an Article 78,” Mr. Duff said.
By Corey Fram
Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)
Publication Date: 04/06/2007
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