BRANDON- The Brandon Town Board has decided, in four-to-one vote, to ban commercial wind turbines in Brandon in a special meeting Wednesday night.
Before the vote during the 8 p.m. Special session, Town Council Ron Goyea made a motion to table the vote on the local law regarding wind energy facilities to allow time to discuss the issue further with Noble Environmental Power.
Lawrence asked if there was a second for the motion, There was silence.
Members of the audience complained about the lack of a second for the motion.
Town Supervisor Mike Lawrence, and Town Councilmen Ken Fish, Randy French and Gary Gonia voted to adopt the law as writtenm with Goyea voting against the motion.
The proposed law, drafted by attorney Daniel Spitzer, will limit wind towers to 80 feet in height.
Lawrence said that the law will be sent to Albany to be recorded by the Secretary of State as an official law.
“That particular law allows wind energy facilities to be built to a maximum of 80 feet and would allow them for personal use’” Lawrence said. “So it is a a law that allows wind energy, just not on an industrial scale.”
In the board’s regular meeting at 7 p.p., Lawrence read the State Environmental Quality Review which stated that the environment would not be damaged because nothing was being done.
The town board voted to accept the SEQRA as read.
Three people raised their hands during the regular meeting but were not recognized by the board.
The town council members have had more than a month to consider the proposed law, Lawrence noted.
“It’s been on the table of the town council for approximately 40 days,” he said.
William Clifford, a Brandon resident, has been campaigning against commercial wind towers for almost four years.
“I’m not fully anti-wind’” Clifford said. “If I could have smaller ones, I would. The commercial ones are too dangerous and health hazardous.”
John Quirk, managing director of development at Noble Environmental Power, said he thought the town had ruled against the wishes of the majority of Brandon’s residents.
“Naturally we’re disappointed,” Quirk said. “A very significant economic opportunity for Brandon has passed them by.”
Noble Environmental Power had been considering a 65 to 85 megawatt project in the town of Brandon.
Dan Boyd, project development engineer for Noble Environmental Power, said during a previous public hearing that Noble was interested in placing wind turbines only in the southern portion of the town, where there would be sufficient wind to support the project.
Boyd estimated the project would have brought about $400,000 per year paid to the town under the current Franklin County PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreements.
Boyd did not comment at Wednesday’s meeting.
It’s difficult to understand.” Quirk concluded.
By JOSH JOCK
The Malone Telegram
Thursday, February 21.2008
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