Hamlin is getting closer to becoming the first town in Monroe County with a wind farm.
The town will hold a public hearing on proposed wind-energy regulations at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, at St. John Lutheran Church, 1107 Lake Road West Fork, Hamlin.
Under the regulations, the applicant would need a special-use permit, issued by the town board. Board members had discussed giving the permit responsibilities to the planning board. But elected town board members are easier to hold accountable for a decision than members of the planning board, who are appointed to seven-year terms, Supervisor Dennis Roach said during a January 22 workshop.
“If the town’s unhappy with my performance, they can get rid of me in two years,” Roach said.
The town board will also have the final say on whether to rezone an area for wind towers.
Hamlin has a moratorium on wind towers until it irons out a policy.
The setbacks are sure to be the most contentious aspect of the regulations. Under the current draft, towers can be as close as 1,500 feet to the nearest residence, no closer than 600 feet to the nearest property line, and no closer than 600 feet to the nearest public road.
“The setbacks they have come back with are totally unreasonable,” said Linda DeRue, former chair of the town’s Wind Tower Committee, in an e-mail to City Newspaper. Members of that committee, as well as Hamlin Preservation Group members, called for half-mile – 2,640 feet – setbacks between residences and turbines.
The proposed regulations also include:
* Limitations on the sale of a wind farm. The town must approve any change in ownership, including the sale of a majority stake in stock;
* Requiring visual impact, flicker, and noise studies as part of the environmental review;
* A 400-foot maximum height, measured from the tower base to the tip of the turbine blade at its highest point;
* Noise limits;
* Requiring applicants to create a plan to protect neighboring property values.
Last year, Iberdrola representatives approached Hamlin officials about building a wind farm in the town. The company also approached landowners, trying to secure lease options. The company has not yet submitted a proposal for consideration.
By Jeremy Moule
29 January 2008
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