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Wind power rules closer  

LYME PROJECT: Town, planning boards agree on turbine setbacks, some other issues

No additional setbacks will be required around the Ashland Flats State Wildlife Management Area or Chaumont Barrens Preserve by the proposed Lyme wind power development zoning law amendment, the Lyme Planning Board and Town Council agreed at a joint work session Thursday night.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Nature Conservancy, which owns the preserve, could ask for additional setbacks from turbines. “There are no DEC blanket setbacks,” Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said.

The standard setback in the proposed zoning ordinance is a distance from the neighbor’s property line of at least 21/2 times the height of the tower.

During the workshop, the boards discussed recommendations from the Jefferson County Planning Board. The boards did not address or change the 4,500-foot setback requirement from the high water mark of Lake Ontario and the Chaumont River or the boundary of the hamlet of Three Mile Bay and the village of Chaumont.

The Cape Vincent Wind Farm, proposed by BP Alternative Energy, has plans for 30 to 60 turbines in Lyme in addition to up to 80 in Cape Vincent.

Based on suggestions from the county Planning Board, the Lyme Planning Board and Town Council removed restrictions on transmission lines and substations from being outside the wind overlay zone, the area in the town that would be allowed to have wind turbines according to the setback regulations.

“The county Planning Board is telling us they’re not sure we have the authority to regulate transmission lines,” Mr. Aubertine said. The town was told that most transmission lines fall solely under the authority of the state Public Service Commission.

The Lyme boards also agreed to take out a section requiring approval from the town whenever a change of ownership of the turbine or ownership of the turbine’s company takes place.

“You don’t require it of any other business,” town Attorney Mark G. Gebo said.

Planning Board member Albert H. Bowers added, “If there is a true change of ownership, they would have to make the change on the tax rolls, too.”

There were several county suggestions that the boards decided against adopting. The county suggested adding a phrase “if necessary” to a clause requiring wind power companies to sign an agreement to fix town roads that are damaged while transporting equipment or parts.

They also disagreed that their definition of residences should be more narrow. Their definition includes dormitories, nursing homes, schools and prisons. “You’re getting away from what a lay person would consider a residence,” Mr. Gebo said. But, he said, they are all locations where people spend an extended period of time.

The boards scheduled a second work session at 7 p.m. April 1 at the fire hall, 27994 Old Springs Road.

By Nancy Madsen
Times Staff Writer

Watertown Daily Times

21 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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