By the end of this month, a law regulating wind turbines in the Town of Hamlin could be passed. But not without much debate. A public meeting this week will serve as a last ditch effort from some neighbors who say this proposed law doesn’t protect them.
The debate has raged on for nearly two years in the Town of Hamlin. At stake is how to craft a local law that would protect the interests of taxpayers should wind turbines, or a wind farm, be built.
Meeting after meeting has led to a proposed law, worked and re-worked, that would at last regulate any wind turbine built in Hamlin.
“It is important to note that the culmination that we’re coming to now on the wind tower regulation does not approve any wind towers,” Hamlin Town Supervisor Denny Roach said.
What it would regulate is where developers could build a wind farm, and under what restrictions. The benefits of building wind turbines in Hamlin would be reaped by farmers who are paid by developers to build on their land, and by taxpayers who could see property taxes drop as a result.
“We’re very concerned about it and we do want to get regulations in place,” Roach said.
However, neighbors opposed to the currently proposed wind tower law are voicing various concerns. Noise is one, the effect on birds and wildlife is another. Property values appears to be the overwhelming concern. Some feel “setback distances” would address those worries. Meaning, if you’re going to allow wind turbines in Hamlin, they’d like to see them placed further away from homes.
The setback distance being considered in this proposed law is 1,200 feet from any structure, and 600 feet from any road. Details show that it a turbine must be at least 600 feet from the end of any neighboring property line.
“That’s of great concern to us,” Kathy Habgood said. Habgood is among those neighbors who’d like to see this law require setback distances of at least 1,700 feet. That, she and others say, would limit noise problems and protect property values.
“There are a lot of people who would not want to live across from a wind turbine,” Habgood explained. “And we think that’s been reflected, there’s been two houses on Redman Road that have been for sale for over a year that aren’t selling, and they’re right across from one of the test towers that’s up ”
A public hearing on this issue is scheduled for Thursday night (April 10th) at the Gymnasium at St. John Lutheran Church on Lake Road in Hamlin.
The town board could pass the proposed regulations into law later this month. Town Supervisor Denny Roach said stricter noise regulations in this proposed law could theoretically push a wind turbine further than 1,200 feet from homes.
Reported by: Sean Carroll
6 April 2008
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