Are the winds changing again in the town of Westfield?
“Babcock & Brown are applying for a couple of permits to put up a couple of Met Towers,” said Peter Gross of Babcock & Brown during the Westfield Town Board meeting Wednesday. “A little bit about Babcock & Brown: we’re one of the top wind power developers, contractors, managers owners in the country. We’ve got about 22 projects so far, most of those are in operation.”
The company became interested in Western New York through information gathered by their meteorologists. The desirable areas were then narrowed down to Westfield.
According to Gross, the company has done a lot of research on the area and its past and began negotiating with land owners.
“The area that we’re looking at lies south of the ridge and south of the transition line,” said Gross.
Babcock & Brown have also installed a radar on the corner of Parker and Pigeon roads, which will be there as long as the development continues. The radar monitors birds in a 2.5 mile radius, both horizontal and vertical. The data collected will be used to determine the environmental impact of these towers.
Concerned residents filled the board room, although they were not allowed to ask Gross questions. A public hearing will be scheduled in November for this purpose.
During the public comment portion, many residents voiced their concerns from the previous wind power project and invited each other to band together against allowing another project to begin in Westfield.
“We have a very internationally well-known speaker coming to our next meeting. We not only invite members of the board, we strongly urge you to come. We feel you have not had a balanced input,” said resident Janet Nass, a member of an organization dedicated to informing the public on the issue of wind power.
According to Nass, members of the Chautauqua County Citizens for Responsible Wind Power have attended the meetings on wind power they are invited to by the board but the board has not responded favorably to invitations to CCCRW’s presentations.
The Chautauqua County Citizens for Responsible Wind Power will meet on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Westfield Academy and Central School auditorium. All residents are invited to attend.
There will also be a STW Regional Wind Energy Conference on Oct. 25 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The next board meeting will be on Nov. 7 and will include hearings for the two Babcock & Brown Met Towers SUP’s, beginning at 7:15 p.m.
By Shirley West
4 October 2007
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