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Ban on windmills may not harm Steelwinds project  

A moratorium on windmills in Hamburg may never affect the turbines proposed for the former Bethlehem Steel site.

The town’s code review committee – a standing ad hoc group – has finished work on the town’s new wind power ordinance and is sending it to the Town Board.

“We have a final draft. It will be discussed Monday night,” said Councilman D. Mark Cavalcoli, who is also a member of the committee.

That news followed a public hearing last month on the proposed moratorium, which was met with almost unanimous opposition.

The Town Board will decide Monday whether it wants to impose the moratorium or simply keep it tabled while it decides on the new wind ordinance.

The latter is considered likely. Mark Mitskovski, the project manager for BQ Energy’s Steelwinds development in Lackawanna, said his company’s expansion into Hamburg still can’t take place until the wind ordinance is in place.

BQ wants to put six of the 255-foot towers on a portion of the Bethlehem Steel property in Hamburg. Mitskovski has described the old industrial area north of Woodlawn State Park as looking like a “moonscape.”

“Our plans won’t and can’t go any further until we get past this ordinance issue and understand this new law and how it would affect us,” Mitskovski said. “Once that is known, we’ll know how to proceed.”

If the Town Board gives its approval, the earliest the wind ordinance would go up for a public hearing would be June 11. The board then usually waits another two weeks after a public hearing before voting on whether it will accept a measure.

It’s possible the board may approve the industrial part of the ordinance while putting a moratorium on the construction of residential and commercial wind power developments.

Mitskovski, meanwhile, said his company has already commented to the committee on the wind ordinance and intends to comment further during any public hearings.

“I think they’ve worked diligently on their new ordinance and done a very good job on it,” he said. “The law has good language, but there are areas that should be expanded on or spelled out more clearly.”

By Elmer Ploetz
News Staff Reporter

buffalonews.com

10 May 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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