Meredith’s new town board members are keeping their campaign promise of rescinding Meredith’s wind-energy law and adopting a law banning industrial wind.
A public hearing on Meredith’s proposed wind-energy law banning industrial turbines is scheduled for 6 p.m. today at the Delaware County Office Building in Delhi.
Supervisor Keitha Capouya said the Meredith Town Board passed a resolution in February overturning the wind law adopted last year.
Capouya said Monday that there was “a great deal of feeling about banning industrial wind turbines in the town.” She noted that more than 800 people signed a petition opposing industrial wind, and of the approximately 55 people who spoke at the public hearing on the original law, only six or seven were in favor of permitting industrial wind.
Capouya said the revised law incorporates regulations adapted from restrictive wind laws passed by town boards in Andes, Bovina and Malone.
Capouya was the chairwoman of the Meredith Planning Board when the original wind regulations were drafted. She said the planning board members worked to craft regulations that would protect residents.
“After the town board removed the setbacks from the proposed regulations, we realized that feelings were very strong for an outright ban on industrial wind,” she said.
Capouya said the proposed wind regulation is much shorter than local law and it eliminates the Wind Energy Review Board that was included in the former regulation.
Capouya said the proposed law does not ban small wind projects.
“We are very much in favor of alternative energy,” Capouya said. “We are putting together a task force to explore small wind, solar, geo-thermal and private bio-mass energy projects. Our feeling is that one of the most valuable things we could do is to work to move Meredith off the grid.”
Councilman Ron Bailey said, “We campaigned from the beginning on the promise to ban the big turbines.
“I have heard from people who completely support the proposed law and who have expressed appreciation to the town board for listening to the voters,” Bailey added.
Bailey said he has not been contacted by people in favor of the big turbines, but he expects them to attend the public hearing.
“I am mainly worried about the weather prediction,” Bailey said. “I want people to be able to get there and say their piece. I wish we had somewhere big enough in Meredith to hold the hearing, but we just don’t.”
Bailey said he is also working on the other project that was promised in the campaign.
“We promised to develop a Meredith website,” Bailey said. “I have taken on creating the website as my project, but it is very complex and time consuming.”
Capouya, Bailey and their running mate, Daniel Birnbaum, control the majority vote on the five-member board, which also includes Paul Menke and Roger Hamilton.
Hamilton ran against Capouya for the supervisor position and is a proponent of industrial wind. He said after his defeat that he had come to terms with the fact that there is going to be a ban on industrial wind projects.
In November, Hamilton said he would be voting against changing the law. He was not available for comment Monday.
Delhi News Bureau
4 March 2008
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