DEPAUVILLE – Photos simulating turbine blades that soar above the treetops and church steeples here are giving residents an uneasy feeling.
PPM Atlantic Renewable is proposing the 62-turbine Horse Creek Wind Farm in the towns of Clayton and Orleans, and is distributing photos depicting what the turbines will look like as a part of a generic draft environmental impact statement. The seven “before and after” photos show areas along Overbluff Road and numerous vantage points along Route 12.
Patricia Booras-Miller, vice president of Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization of Jefferson County, thinks the drawings don’t accurately represent the height of the towers.
Booras-Miller argued that the pictures were “made aesthetically pleasing” and that, when comparing the simulated towers to the trees, silos and utility poles, it’s apparent the turbines’ true height is not represented accurately.
Though the 407-foot turbines are actually “10 times the height of a utility pole,” they appear in the photos “to be only slightly higher,” Booras-Miller wrote in an e-mail Wednesday. “The views do not appear to be to scale and therefore not realistic.”
The turbine proposal is unwelcome, said Kathy L. Stone, manager at Depauville MiniMart, Route 12.
“I think they’re pretty gross,” she said while serving a customer Wednesday.
Stone used to live in Port Leyden in Lewis County and moved to Depauville around the time the Maple Ridge Wind Farm gained steam along the Tug Hill.
“They want to build them here, and then we have to look at them all the time,” she said.
Another co-worker expressed a similar opinion.
“They don’t belong here,” she said. “This is a river community, and we want to keep it nice.”
William B. Udart, of Depauville, said he hasn’t formed an opinion on the proposal.
“I’ve read just about every article that comes through,” he said. “I just haven’t decided yet. I kind of want to stay out of it.”
Kirk S. Gilchrist, senior pastor at the New Life Christian Church along Route 12 in Depauville, said the developer’s photos don’t meld with the community aesthetics.
“Those would be right next to the road,” he said while viewing the photos on the company’s Web site. “If these are their shots then it’s a bit surprising.”
The pastor admitted that he doesn’t know very much about the project but said it should “fit with the community.”
“The community needs to benefit, not just the landowners,” he said.
The Oregon-based developer submitted the generic DEIS as requested by town officials last winter. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has requested that further studies be done on streams, wetlands and other habitat types. The agency also said the generic DEIS is missing information about impacts on “reptiles and amphibians and migrating, breeding and wintering birds as well as bats.”
Calls to PPM and developer William Moore were not returned Wednesday.
Horse Creek developers have hired a consulting company, Environmental Data Resources Inc., Millford, Conn., to sort through Fish and Wildlife’s comments. The town has also hired Cavanaugh-Tocci Associates Inc., Sudbury, Mass., to study its zoning regulations in terms of its restrictions on noise.
Booras-Miller said the amount of noise produced by the turbines is ECCO’s largest concern. Town regulations mandate that noise from the turbines not exceed 50 decibels.
The Massachusetts firm will examine the setbacks currently in the regulations, which are 1,250 feet from homes. Once complete, it will draft recommendations for the town.
Clayton Supervisor Justin A. Taylor said the town will take all the steps it needs to make sure the proposal is thoroughly examined. He was unaware of when the project was expected to reappear in front of the Planning Board or Town Council.
The wind farm developer also is offering $8,000 per megawatt in a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement and “host community agreement” package that would last 20 years. All of the proposed turbines are 2.1 megawatts. The Jefferson County Board of Legislators is still deliberating whether to accept the proposal.
By Robert Brauchle and Jaegun Lee
Watertown Daily Times
20 December 2007
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