A proposed wind-turbine farm in the towns of Warren and Stark is one step closer to construction.
The Jordanville Wind Project was granted special use permits by the Warren Town Board on Wednesday. On Thursday night, the Stark Town Board met to discuss the issue.
Stark board members did not return multiple calls for comment Thursday night, but Stark resident Sue Brander, a member of wind turbine opposition group Advocates for Stark, said the board passed the resolutions necessary for the project to move forward.
“Apparently, their minds are made up and they don’t want to be confused by the fact,” said Brander, who attended the meeting Thursday.
The wind farm project is praised by some who believe it will bring jobs and revenue to the area. But others are concerned about negative visual effects of the turbines, which are more than 250 feet tall at the hub.
Warren Town Supervisor Richard Jack said construction could begin as early as this fall, after the project clears several other government agencies.
The project is being sponsored by Jordanville Wind LLC, which is a subsidiary of Iberdrola, USA. The town’s special use permit is a 30-page document of guidelines for construction requirements, including general construction conditions, mitigation for utilities drainage, bird and bath studies and escrow funds that have to be created for mitigation issues, Jack said.
The Jordanville Wind Project includes covering the towns of Warren and Stark with 68 wind turbines, capable of producing 136 megawatts of electric power.
“We still have lingering concerns,” said Marthy Frey, executive director of Otsego 2000, a nonprofit that advocates for environmental causes. “We still feel there have been environmental impacts that have not been fully explored.”
Frey said she is primarily worried about the effects the turbines will have on tourism, property values, and the environment, especially in the area of Otsego Lake.
But Jack said the wind farm is a good way to bring more opportunities and money to the area, since the sparsely populated towns can’t draw more commercial building.
“As far as this project goes, one of the reasons we were in favor of it is that it’s going to help the entire town and the school and the county,” he said. “This is the type of project that is really beneficial to the area.”
The wind farm is expected to bring more than $1 million in annual tax benefits to be split among the county, towns and school districts. Some temporary construction jobs and about 10 full-time maintenance jobs could be created.
Jack said he did not believe the turbines would detract from the area’s scenery, but noted those concerns are typical during most construction.
“Anything that you build,” he said, “is going to have some kind of detrimental effect.”
By Vanessa Ebbeling
22 June 2007
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