Applause filled the room Tuesday night after a vote by the Meredith Town Board to adopt a local law banning industrial wind turbines.
About 50 people were at the Delaware County Office Building boardroom for a public hearing on the proposed law, but the comments were generally in favor of the ordinance.
Meredith residents went to the polls in November and elected three board members who ran on a campaign promise of rescinding the town’s wind-energy law and adopting a law banning industrial wind.
Officials Tuesday night and previously have said small wind projects would not be banned.
After the public hearing, the new board members, Supervisor Keitha Capouya and councilmen Ron Bailey and Daniel Birnbaum, voted “yes” on the new law, while Councilman Roger Hamilton voted “no” and Councilman Paul Menke abstained because of a possible conflict of interest. Menke serves on the Delaware County Electric Cooperative Board of Directors.
Before the vote was taken but after the public hearing, Hamilton said he had expressed a concern to board members that “it isn’t legal to pass a law banning something if you don’t have zoning in place.”
Capouya said she was “a little baffled” by Hamilton’s concern because the Meredith town attorney had read and approved the law. She said she wondered if they should pose the question to the attorney before a vote was taken.
Bailey said he had confidence that if there were questions about the legality of the law, the attorney would have raised them. He then brought forward a resolution to proceed with the adoption of the law.
Bailey made a motion to accept the law, which was seconded by Birnbaum.
After further debate by the board members, Birnbaum said to Capouya, “I would like you to bring up the law.”
During the public comment period, Meredith resident Tara Collins praised the board for following through with the promise to revisit the law.
“I want to thank you for respecting the wishes of the people of Meredith,” Collins said.
Jan Iszewski questioned whether the proposed law would absolutely rule out a small commercial community wind project.
Capouya said no law was absolute, and it could always be adapted to meet new circumstances.
“This (wind) technology changes all the time,” Capouya said. “I fully expect the law to be amended at some time.” She said the Meredith Town Board passed a resolution in February overturning the wind law adopted last year.
The revised law incorporates regulations adapted from restrictive wind laws passed by town boards in Andes, Bovina and Malone, she said.
Many of the people attending the public hearing had not had an opportunity to read the proposed law, which prompted Capouya to go through the document highlighting points of interest.
She said the latest wind regulation is much shorter than local law and eliminates the Wind Energy Review Board that was included in the former regulation.
By Patricia Breakey
Delhi News Bureau
19 March 2008
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