The issue of whether a wind farm should be built in Livingston County will come back to a county committee on July 15, after members have digested the information they received Wednesday night.
The board’s agriculture and zoning committee took up the question of whether Iberdrola Renewables should get a special-use permit to build Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm, a 155-turbine project scattered across 15,000 acres between Odell and Emington.
The committee on Wednesday reviewed the Zoning Board of Appeals findings, including its list of proposed conditions to be applied to the special-use permit. The ZBA voted Monday to recommend the permit after 20 hours of testimony over a series of 10 public hearing sessions.
On Wednesday, Iberdorla presented a written response to the ZBA’s proposed special conditions.
“They were all taken under advisement and (consultants) are still going to have to look at them and study them,” committee Chairwoman Jeanne Rapp said. “This information was really just received by everyone and taken under consideration.”
The committee will meet again at 6 p.m. July 15 in the basement of the Livingston County Public Safety Complex, 844 W. Lincoln St.
Iberdrola representatives will speak to the committee about the developer’s response to the ZBA’s proposed conditions.
Rapp said the Livingston County Board still is expected to vote on the wind farm at its next meeting later this month. It has the final say on the project.
Committee members went over several of the 24 special-use conditions and covered a variety of topics. The included: how to handle public complaints about possible television signal interference and noise issues; details of the “good neighbor” program, which would pay property owners who do not have turbines but do live near them; having Iberdrola provide the county with a form of security for decommissioning the towers at the end of their useful life; and a noise study.
Members of the public also had the opportunity to speak. As at previous meetings, public comments were mixed.
Iberdrola officials have testified previously that property values are not affected by turbines, but opponents are skeptical. Livingston County Board candidate Judy Campbell has said a group called People Protecting Cayuga Ridge have petitioned ZBA and the County Board for a plan to guarantee property values.
“Property values have declined 30 percent in other areas and it is going to happen here too, and there needs to be some type of protection for the people,” said wind farm opponent Cheryl Tate of Blackstone. “We have only lived here for a year and a half, and what are we supposed to do, just walk away and take a $90,000 loss?”
Others see the turbines, which would bring rent payments to landowners and taxes to local government, as an asset.
“For the future of agriculture, I believe that it is necessary that Livingston County has turbines here,” Michael Gall of Odell said.
By Tony Sapochetti
3 July 2008