MARTINSBURG – The Town Council on Wednesday heard comments, several of them negative, about a proposed zoning law change that would accommodate the proposed 40-turbine Roaring Brook wind project.
The board will now further review the proposed wind overlay district before deciding whether to adopt it.
Barnes Corners ornithologist Gerald A. Smith, for one, encouraged it not to.
“The core forest is not the place for wind turbines,” Mr. Smith said. “My opinion is that this project should be a nonstarter from Day One.”
Martinsburg has two wind overlay districts that encompass the town’s portion of the 195-turbine Maple Ridge Wind Farm.
The proposed third district would encompass private forest and rural vacant land owned by Zeager Partnership Ltd. of Middletown, Pa., that is south of Flat Rock Road and west of Carey and French roads. The southernmost towers of the Maple Ridge Wind Farm are just north of Flat Rock Road.
PPM Atlantic Renewable, one of the Maple Ridge partners, is planning the proposed wind farm.
Mr. Smith said that while reviewing the Maple Ridge project, he saw no problems with the turbines’ impact on the habitats of birds and other animals.
“I now see a serious problem,” he said, noting that location is “critical” in siting turbines.
The current wind farm is not located on land designated as core forest, but the proposed one is, Mr. Smith said. Fragmenting forests tends to disrupt the habitats of animals, particularly large ones, he said.
Town resident Michael J. Colwell mentioned that the land in question had been logged off many years ago. “And you should see what large animals did to my crops,” he said.
John Yancey, a Harrisburg resident, complained that Maple Ridge has not resulted in low enough taxes and that he’s “fighting with them” about noise generated by a turbine near his home.
“Tug Hill is turning into a junkyard,” he said.
“I can’t see anything wrong with them,” countered Martinsburg resident John Waligory, who has turbines on his property.
Town resident Jeffrey F. Beyer said that according to a topographical map, about half of the Zeager property is wetlands.
Having held a public hearing, the town now must conduct a state Environmental Quality Review of the proposed zoning change before making a decision, town attorney Mark G. Gebo said after Wednesday’s meeting.
The Lewis County Planning Board already has signed off on the proposed change. Any new wind project would require a full environmental review.
Speakers at the meeting had some “legitimate concerns” that the board will need to review, Town Supervisor Terry J. Thisse said after the meeting.
“There’s a lot to go through,” Mr. Thisse said. “This is the first stage.”
By Steve Virkler
Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)
Publication Date: 08/16/2007
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