The Town of Chautauqua has drafted a Wind Energy Facility Law to regulate the placement, construction and operation of wind turbines within the Town.
The local law is a proactive measure to ensure that regulations are in place, should any applications for wind energy conversion systems (WECS) come before the board.
At its April 14th meeting, Chautauqua Town Board member Dave Ward noted that the intent of the regulations were “not to come off negative, but to be careful” in reviewing any future application for wind turbines. Town Supervisor Don Emhardt said that there has thus far been no interest from any large wind power company in placing a wind turbine or meteorological tower in the town, but that there has been some interest among residents in exploring smaller wind facilities for personal use. The proposed local law regulates both large and small-scale wind facilities.
The local law creates Wind Overlay Districts, permitted only within the Residential-Agricultural zoning district, which, once approved, would allow the board to entertain an application for Special Use Permit for a proposed WECS facility.
The Town Board will have ultimate discretionary approval over the issuance of any Special Use Permits for WECS after a recommendation from the County Planning Board is received and a public hearing is held.
Larger projects, which meet the threshold of a Type 1 action pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), will require a more thorough environmental review. Any fees associated with the review of environmental documentation submitted as part of a SEQR process, in accordance with the proposed local law, can be passed on to the applicant to the extent allowed by SEQR regulations.
The stated intent of the local law is to “promote the effective and efficient use of the Town’s wind energy resource through wind energy conversion systems, and to regulate the placement of such systems so that the public health, safety and welfare is not jeopardized”. The Town Board will consider the adoption of the local law at its next meeting on May 12th.
Also at its May 12th meeting, the board will hold a public hearing on the Town of Chautauqua Waterfront Consistency Law, which provides a framework for the Town to consider the policies included in the Chautauqua Lake Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) when reviewing applications.
The LWRP is a collaborative planning effort undertaken by the Towns of Chautauqua, Ellery, Busti, Ellicott and North Harmony and the Villages of Mayville, Bemus Point, Lakewood and Celeron in cooperation with the New York State Department of State.
The LWRP is a planning initiative that guides waterfront issues including redevelopment and land use, historic and scenic resources, flooding and erosion, water quality, fish and wildlife habitats, public access and recreation and water dependent uses and harbor management.
By Sara Herrmann
Sentinel-News Assistant Editor
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding