Land and homeowners in Hamlin have been debating the use of wind turbines in the community since 2006, but the issue is getting more heated as the town board gets closer to putting regulations into law.
“It’s a torn community,” said Heather Snyder.
Snyder is part of the Hamlin Preservation Group. She says wind towers pose a threat to birds in the area, and they could be an eyesore.
“I don’t want to step out onto my property and have them looking right up at me!”
The towers are supposed to take electricity from the flow of air and put it back into the grid system without causing any pollution. Jim Burch, a local apple farmer, sees wind power as a plus for the community. A wind company is already testing wind speeds on his land, and he says the more towers built, the more they could help struggling farmers.
Each wind turbine installed on his property could bring in $5,000-$10,000.
“By enabling farmers to be able to stay in business, that does help to preserve that rural character (because we can afford to keep our farms around),” Burch said. “It’s a good use of the natural resources that are out there.”
Town supervisor Dennis Roach also wants to keep Hamlin a rural community, but he says he understands the concerns of those against the turbines. The town board has taken those concerns into account in drawing up regulations.
Some of the proposed regulations call for height and noise restrictions as well as limits on how close the turbines can be to the road and property lines.
Roach says once regulations are put into law, they will not necessarily be attractive to wind companies.
“I guarantee you we’ll have regulations for wind towers,” he said. “I can’t guarantee wind towers are coming.”
Reported by: Meghan Backus
15 January 2008
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