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Clayton wind farm meeting brings out some opponents

CLAYTON – Some residents are not enthused about a proposed wind farm coming into Clayton, they said at an informational meeting Thursday.

Horse Creek Wind Farm, proposed by PPM Atlantic Renewable, would be between Depauville and Gunns Corners.

The informational meeting was the first step in the public comment period for the project.

John W. Jepma, who lives on Miller Road in the project area, said he is not in favor of the project. There are no turbines proposed on his property.

“I get no benefit from them. I just get the unsightliness and the noise,” he said.

Mr. Jepma lives in one of the 193 homes that lie within the project or within 3,000 feet of the project boundaries, according to a PPM representative. The project proposes 65 turbines, seven of which would be in the neighboring town of Orleans. The company would like to complete the project in 2009.

Mr. Jepma said that he supports wind power and alternative energy, but that the location of the project is not appropriate. He said the area has too many homes for a wind farm.

One of Mr. Jepma’s neighbors, Anna M. Forbes, is not opposed to the wind farm but expressed major concerns about it. Her primary complaint: Project maps show a turbine on her property, even though she hasn’t spoken to the company.

Mrs. Forbes said erecting a turbine may require drilling into bedrock, which could harm her well and a pond on her property. She also worries about the effects of access roads to the turbines.

“You can’t 100 percent guarantee that there won’t be any damage,” she said.

William M. Moore, director of development for PPM, said it is not uncommon for proposed turbine locations to be mapped on a property before the landowner is contacted. He said the company made contact and received verbal support from at least 80 percent of the landowners before moving forward with planning, he said.

Mr. Moore also said that some people in the proposed project area had not even heard about the wind farm until recently. A few weeks ago, he held a meeting with residents who were previously unaware of its existence.

“Three families expressed surprise and unhappiness,” he said.

The town has taken proper steps to educate the public about the wind farm, said town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor. Every resident was informed of meetings about the project via mail.

While several concerns were expressed at the meeting, several people who attended support the wind farm.

Jerry T. Wetterhahn, who has property on the south side of Depauville, outside of the project boundary and the town’s district for turbine development, said a neighbor has been approached about a test tower. He would be in support of turbines on his land, he said.

By Kelly Vadney

Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)

Publication Date: 04/27/2007