Town of Hamlin Supervisor Dennis Roach opened the public forum portion of the October 9 town board meeting by asking for anyone who hadn’t spoken about wind towers to speak first. No one spoke. He then asked for anyone who had never spoken about the subject of wind towers to speak. No one did. Finally, he asked those in attendance, there were about 20 people, who wanted to speak to do so only if they had new information or were going to pose new, and different questions – ones which hadn’t been raised before the board. “We have nothing new to report on the issue of wind towers, the information we have hasn’t changed since the last meeting, and we don’t have any regulations yet from the attorney who is looking into drafting them for us,” he said by way of explanation before the public forum. “We do expect to hear from the attorney in the next seven to 10 days with regulations. They hope to present those regulations to the board at a workshop in November – either the 8 or the 12.”
Roach said he had hoped the board would have had information earlier than this but with the attorneys’ court schedules, they were unable to schedule anything in October.
Kim Spellan asked Roach whether he felt he had remained neutral on the subject of wind towers.
“Yes, I feel I have,” he said.
“Then can you explain your involvement with helping Ed Evans obtain ‘clean and green’ signs? You referred Mr. Evans to the individual who had them, correct?”
Roach explained that any individual who came to him seeking assistance, would be afforded it. “He asked for information, I had it and I passed it along.”
Town Councilman Michael Marchetti was asked by an audience member to explain just “how big of a fan of green energy he was.” The question was prompted by a comment Marchetti had made at a prior meeting.
“I’d love to have green energy at my house. I’ve reached thermal heating, solar and wind energy,” he said.
Former Wind Tower Committee Chairperson Linda DeRue asked Roach why the town website hadn’t been updated to indicate that even if wind towers came in, residents would not be getting free electricity. Roach said it was an oversight that would be corrected.
Questions were raised on whether the board and Roach remained concerned with Article X when its passage still doesn’t seem imminent. Former Wind Tower Committee member, and candidate for town supervisor Jerry Borkholder, read from an article published in a Buffalo newspaper in which a legislator stated that Article X was not directly related to wind towers but to other forms of alternative energy.
“Now that time has gone by, do you still feel the urgency with Article X that you did before when you disbanded the committee?” Borkholder asked.
“Yes, I do,” Roach said. “I respect the opinions that our state representatives have given to me (Assemblyman Steven Hawley and State Senator George Maziarz).”
Borkholder asked whether the town officials continue to use the term “defensible” when talking about regulations for wind towers.
“We will continue to use that term because if we are challenged in a court of law – by developers or town residents – we want to have regulation in place that can be defended and upheld in court,” Roach said.
Resident Linda Rabjohn said she and her husband were in favor of wind energy. “I am saying this in response to another lady who spoke and said that people who come to the meetings are against them. My husband and I are for them; we just aren’t vocal enough,” she said.
Paul Lapinski asked whether defensible meant that the town could effectively ban wind towers by its own regulations and setbacks.
“A town could effectively do that (ban them),” Roach said. “The Town of Malone (in northern New York) has but in order to do that a town has to have regulations in place.”
Troy Nesbitt, who submitted an e-mail which was read into the records, asked Roach whether he had or if he was planning to speak to supervisors in towns that had banned or written restrictive laws against towers. Roach said he hadn’t but that he might depending on what regulations were presented to the town by the attorneys.
Nesbitt’s e-mail was written in response to a prior meeting in which audience members were asked to keep the meeting moving along. In addition to other questions raised, he wrote and asked about the idea of defensible. “… I can’t find an instance in which a wind developer has sued a town. I did, however, find many cases in which citizens have sued over laws they feel are not restrictive enough. … Do you know of a developer who has sued? Shouldn’t your main concern be protecting the interests of the citizens of Hamlin instead of the interests of a developer from Spain?” he wrote in the e-mail.
Roach stated he was indeed concerned with the interests of the residents of the town.
DeRue, who is running for a town council seat, questioned Roach as to what documents were delivered to the attorney. “Which ones did he get? Were they hand delivered?”
Roach said the attorney had access to all of the reports from the website and that he couldn’t honestly remember which ones had been hand delivered.
The workshops at which the regulations from the attorneys will be presented to the town board will be open to the public.
14 October 2007
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