The Hamburg Town Board received recommendations for a new wind power ordinance Monday night and set a June 11 public hearing to consider them.
The measures were available at the meeting and included 16 pages of proposed rules. Among them are:
“¢ Limiting the wind turbines to M-3 industrial zones, the heaviest industrial zones in the town. That means BQ Energy’s proposed Steel Winds project would fit into the Hamburg portion of the former Bethlehem Steel site. BQ is tentatively proposing a six-turbine extension of its Lackawanna project.
“¢ Reports and calculations on blade and ice throws – how far the ice from the blades and the blades themselves could go – in worst-case scenarios.
“¢ A minimum lot size of 2 acres per commercial wind tower.
“¢ A maximum height – ground to tip of the blades at their highest – of 500 feet. BQ’s proposed towers top out at about 410 feet. The 500-foot limit is consistent with Federal Aviation Administration standards, the proposal says.
“¢ No advertising or logos can go on the towers, and they have to be painted a “non-obtrusive” color, such as white, gray or beige.
“¢ Noise studies are required, including low-frequency noise and “repetitive/ impulsive” sounds.
“¢ Audible noise at the boundary of the project can’t exceed 45 decibels for more than 5 minutes out of a one-hour period, or 50 decibels anytime. According to one science book (Time-Life’s “Sound and Hearing”), that’s the equivalent of somewhere between “a residential area at night” and a quiet restaurant.
A removal and site restoration plan is required for the eventual demise of the tower.
Supervisor Steven Walters said that while the proposal had been in the works since last year, the process became more urgent when the BQ project was announced and a possible moratorium was considered.
“All the public comment that came out over this, it got all of us to really buckle down and get this done,” said Walters. “We were able to get something done for the good of the town and for the good of business that’s trying to come into town in an area where nobody expected anything to be done for a long, long time.
“We’re happy that there won’t be a moratorium on this project.”
The Bethlehem site contains numerous areas of toxic pollution.
By Elmer Ploetz
News Staff Reporter
15 May 2007
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