The Albion Town Board voted to disband the Albion Wind Advisory Committee at its meeting Monday evening, upon the request of Chairman Clifford Thom Sr.
The seven-member volunteer committee was appointed by the board April 23 to research wind energy and make a recommendation for or against the Airtricity company putting up at least 55 of the 400-foot wind turbines in the Gaines and Albion areas, said board member and Town Supervisor-elect Judy Koehler. The committee began monthly meetings at the town hall in June.
Before the committee reached a decision either way, they began working with attorney Daniel Spitzer to develop a local law for wind energy facilities. The proposed law was discussed at the committee’s Nov. 1 meeting in front of a disgruntled public.
As councilman-elect, Thom told the board he would be stepping down from his position as committee chairman effective Dec. 15. He requested the board disband the wind energy committee after learning two members, Jody Neal and Hugh Dudley, allegedly have contracts with wind energy developers.
Several other appointed committee members are not Town of Albion residents, Thom said. Kathleen Bates resides in Murray, Dale Davis resides in the Village of Albion and Bill Coxeter resides in Brockport (although he is formerly of Albion), he said.
Thom asked that the board allow the committee to complete the proposed law at its Nov. 29 meeting, even though they are still investigating the issue as a whole. Barre Center already has a wind energy law in place, and several other Orleans County municipalities have been working with Spitzer to do the same.
“We’ve already spent the money for a law. We’re halfway through it,” Thom said. “That money was spent the way it should be.”
Koehler, who was among those who passed the resolution creating the wind committee, moved that the board disband the committee and revisit it after Jan. 1 under the new administration. After a second from Board Member Jeannette Riley, the board unanimously agreed.
“There was no charge there to develop a law,” Koehler said.
Megan McElligott, a Gaines resident who believes the turbines will be a detriment to the community, questioned the committee’s objectivity.
“If you are going to have a (wind advisory committee), you have to start at jump,” said Albion resident Chris Appleton. “Start from scratch.”
The advisory committee’s Nov. 29 meeting has been canceled until further notice.
By Nicole Coleman
20 November 2007
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