HAMMOND – Wind power has been bantered about in this one-stoplight town on the St. Lawrence River for several years.
Now, town officials are forming a committee to investigate the impact wind turbines would have on the community.
“We want to have things in place, like local laws for wind power, so we’re not small people getting stepped on,” Town Board member Russell Stewart said.
PPM Atlantic Renewable, a partner in the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County, is considering constructing a wind farm in the town of about 1,200 people. The project would be a first in St. Lawrence County.
The company has a test tower to measure wind speeds on property near the St. Lawrence River on County Route 6, but no proposal has been presented to the town about a wind farm.
St. Lawrence County’s Planning Board and Environmental Management Council teamed together to create a model wind farm ordinance any municipality, including Hammond, with an alternative-energy proposal can use. The model should be finalized in the coming weeks.
Town officials said the model will help them create regulations for wind farms, including setbacks, heights for wind turbines and locations for them. The committee also will study including language in case a wind farm company goes out of business.
“We just want to be treated fairly,” Mr. Stewart said.
Some advantages to having wind turbines include royalties from towers for property owners who host them, property taxes the school district, town and county would receive on the development and the addition of renewable power to feed the grid, town officials said.
Proponents of wind farms believe the turbines are more environmentally friendly energy sources than fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Opponents say that windmills towering 400 feet above farm fields are an eyesore and a danger to birds and other wildlife.
Residents interested in joining the wind power committee can call the town clerk’s office at 324-5321.
By David Winters
Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)
Publication Date: 06/04/2007
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