Close to two dozen people attended a Hamlin meeting to speak about wind towers and the recommendations that had been handed down by the Wind Tower Committee (WTC). Because many questions were raised and some were unable to be answered at that meeting, a special board meeting is set for 6 p.m. August 28 to revisit the topic. The first hour will be devoted to allowing the public to ask questions, the second hour will be a discussion on the information presented to town board members by WTC members.
“I’ve invited the Hamlin support boards to be in attendance so the committee can present recommendations and answer questions asked by the support boards and the town board members,” Hamlin Supervisor Dennis Roach said. “My hope is that at the August 28 meeting we will get all of our questions answered and be able to make recommendations.” Roach said he would ask for a resolution to retain an attorney to begin drafting regulations for wind tower placement based on the recommendations garnered at that meeting. “I’m hoping that at the October board meeting we will have draft regulations available to present to the board,” Roach said. “The town board is obligated to conduct public hearings and I would like to see those taking place in November.”
When asked again why the WTC deadline for researching the placement of wind towers in the town changed from a December deadline to a July one, Roach said that if the state’s Article X (power plant siting) comes into play, he wants the town to have its own regulations in place. “Even if we had a moratorium, Article X, if enacted, would take precedence over local laws,” Roach said. At a meeting earlier this month, WTC Chairman Linda DeRue said that although the work the committee completed was thorough, the committee should have had time to complete the project with which they had been charged. “We should have been granted the time originally set forth so we could have completed our report in a more timely manner,” she said. “We put our hearts and souls – in addition to hundreds of hours – into the project we were given.”
At the meeting when WTC turned in its recommendations, a faction of the committee – two who are town employees, one a town volunteer – turned in a Minority Report disputing some of the findings in the recommendations the WTC submitted.
WTC member Jerry Bruckheimer said the committee had concerns when the supervisor decided that Article X caused a panic situation. “In talking with our legislators we found there is not a rush to Article X, there is no reason for the panic situation the town feels it finds itself in,” he said. “There appears to be other factors at work here.”
Troy Nesbitt, a member of the Hamlin Preservation Group, agrees the committee was not given the chance to complete its task. “I think the supervisor, working on the advice of a landowner, urged the WTC to complete its task.”
Nesbitt said that he didn’t feel the WTC’s recommendations on setbacks from dwellings were strict enough. “They are recommending 2,640 feet. It should be more,” he said. “Neighboring communities are doing due diligence when it comes to protecting the health, welfare and safety of its residents but it doesn’t appear that Hamlin is doing that.” The Hamlin Preservation Group plans to be at the August meeting as they have many questions that they want answers to, Nesbitt said. “Our group isn’t saying no to wind turbines, we just want all of the questions answered and we want what is in the best interest of the residents.”
In some other communities
In the Town of Kendall, Supervisor William Vick said, “I am of the opinion that the Article X legislation isn’t coming any time soon. I don’t see any sense of urgency in our town to rush to judgment on wind towers,” he said. “We aren’t going to enact something that isn’t adequate for our town.”
Kendall did enact a moratorium for 365 days on wind energy generators. “Between now and the end of the year we may have completed our research and may schedule public hearings but we don’t have the level of concern over Article X that is being generated by other communities.”
At the July 24 meeting of the Town of Sweden board, a resolution was passed enacting a nine-month moratorium on wind tower construction.
August 26, 2007
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