Town of Kendall officials heard from residents on the town’s proposal to authorize a maximum of four meteorological test towers (MET towers) be erected within the town limits.
“We’ve spent a serious amount of time on this issue and have had a moratorium in place since September,” Town Supervisor William Vick told the crowd of about 50 people at the April 26 public hearing. “We’ve had a lot to digest, a lot to read and hear about and we’ve had a lot to go on from what’s happening with our neighbors to the east (Hamlin).”
The proposal for special permit use and regulations was studied by the planning board, reviewed by the attorney and presented to the public.
Bob Nelson, chairman of the planning board, said the board has researched all of the issues. “We know this issue creates stress and could create a high level of activity in the town,” he said. “We also know there are heavy duty opinions on both sides.”
Nelson and Vick explained that the MET towers only provide wind measurement data. “This is not a debate of whether to allow wind energy generators – wind towers – this special use permit is just about how to control the placement of the towers to gather the wind data,” Nelson said.
“Right now we are only talking about MET towers – those would be put up to see if wind energy generators would be feasible in the town,” Vick said. “If the METs are put up that is a contract between the landowner and the tower company – not the town.”
Residents Bob and Jane Hart spoke during the hearing. Bob said he was happy to see a provision for remediation of the land in the event the MET towers were removed. “Some of these towers have 100 foot deep footers,” he said.
Jane wanted to know whether the town had been approached by companies wishing to erect the MET towers and whether they had been approached to construct wind towers. “Where will the towers go?” she asked.
Vick said landowners had been approached as host sites for the METs. “That’s why we want to get regulations in place,” he said.
Nelson said, “The driving force right now is where the MET towers will be allowed to be erected. The best protection the town and the residents have are to regulate the areas in which they can go.”
“If the MET towers are the same as in Hamlin, what’s to stop the company that wants to put those up from bypassing this stage and going right to wind generators?” Bob Hart asked. “Why can’t they just consider putting in wind towers based on information gathered in Hamlin?”
Vick explained that the wind flows vary greatly even within a 50 foot span. “Your point is well made but right now we are just considering the proposal of the MET tower regulations,” Vick said.
Vick did say that municipalities do reap financial benefits from the erection of wind towers. “There is always some form of compensation to the town from the companies putting in the wind towers,” he said. “Money goes to the landowners and some comes to the town so everyone benefits.”
The Town of Eagle, Vick told the crowd, is host to wind towers and because of the agreements negotiated, the town was able to “retire its budget” because of the compensation it receives from the wind tower company. “I know that’s not the only reason to consider allowing wind towers but it is a good one,” he said. “This is the kind of info we need to gather in case we need to make decisions in the future. To some, the wind towers are an eyesore, to others they are a thing of beauty.”
If the Town of Kendall has to make a determination on whether to allow wind towers to come into the town, Vick said the proposal would likely go to a referendum. “We’d want everyone to get a chance to have their thoughts known – that way the board could make a decision based on the majority.”
A second public hearing on the MET tower regulations was held May 3. Result of that meeting will be included in a future issue.
6 May 2007
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