What’s in the wind for Scipio? The town board discussed a number of issues affecting future plans for the town.
Keith Batman, town supervisor, put a positive spin on his update of the wind farm/broadband plans. The board also weighed in on property issues related to its comprehensive plan, increases in highway expenditures due to rising fuel costs and their effects on budgets and taxes, and a review of its policies regarding the Southern Ambulence Service.
The Shell WindEnergy group met with a group of Scipio landowners on Monday at the Auburn Masonic Temple to discuss issues on which they disagreed, according to Batman.
“In the initial lease that Shell showed the landowners, all legal rights went to Shell. It was a big problem,” he said. “Shell has economic concerns and proprietary technology that it’s not willing to give away.”
Batman said that they now seem more willing to discuss the landowners’ concerns.
He said that there was sufficient information for the town to move ahead and consider forming an advisory group.
Landowners’ concerns included placement of towers and placement of access roads, and they wanted to know who was going to decide. Batman said it’s difficult to determine placement because of all the scientific testing that has to be done. Besides the wind, soil and subsoil samples have to be analyzed.
As for setback issues, a third concern, the town does decide how far back the towers can be set.
“The landowners were asking for some say in where they (the towers) would go,” Batman said. While Shell Wind did not inform the town which landowners were invited to the meeting, Batman said it was easy enough to look at a tax map at the land between Wykoff Road and Route 34 to the town line to find out.
The meterological experimental tower (MET) was placed on the farm of Jay Horst on Skillet Road.
Even if there is a compromise on definitive issues, a process has to be followed where the landowners sign on, followed by a SEQRA process, which wouldn’t be complete for another two or three years.
“They would like to be in by 2010 or 2011,” Batman said.
By: Kathleen Barran
9 July 2008
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