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Officials exploring possibility of setting windmill regulations in Town of Evans

To prepare for windmill companies’ potential interest, Town of Evans officials plan to establish laws regulating where the electricity-generating devices can be built.

The Town Board tabled three proposed local laws last Wednesday (July 16) night after hearing residents’ input during public hearings.

Town Supervisor Francis Pordum cautioned afterward that officials want to see windmills only in appropriate places.

“We don’t want to see some enterprising firm come in and build eight windmills on our waterfront,” he said.

The proposals would regulate the design, placement, construction, installation and modification of noncommercial and commercial windmills, which were formally known as wind energy conversion systems.

One town resident, William Henry, urged board members not to place high taxes on those who use renewable energy sources such as windmills and solar power.

Henry, who chairs the town of Brant’s Energy Committee, expressed fear that the town could enter a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with a windmill company and then end the agreement, which would force the company to pay higher taxes.

“The way your ordinance is written right now, if I were a wind company, I’d be scared to death to come here because you can opt out,” he said.

Henry, who co-chairs the Southtowns Energy Fair, also encouraged the board to include the Lake Shore Central School District in any PILOT agreement.

He also voiced concern that the town could tax homeowners who use solar power as other local governments have done.

“The Frontier School District is taxing all renewable energy,” said Henry, who lives in a solar-powered home on Pontiac Road.

Pordum emphasized the importance of preserving the shorefront.

“I’m not looking for a large windmill to be put up on our shores to ruin our beaches,” he said.
The board may vote on the proposals at its next meeting, set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20.

In another matter, a resident said during the public comment session that people have been driving fast across part of her property despite her efforts to keep them away.

“I just want to enjoy the quiet,” said Fran Murphy of Lakeside Avenue.

She described the traffic coming across her yard as retaliation for her placement of rocks to prevent drivers from parking there as they had for years.

She added that some have used her fence as a posting place for Wal-Mart signs.

“It’s been said that people on Lakeside do not play nice,” she said.

She also said someone called the town’s Highway Department to complain about her rocks and an employee from the department told her the rocks are “hazardous.”

“Why are my rocks hazardous and the rocks farther down the street are not hazardous?” she asked.
Board members said they would speak with the highway superintendent.

The board also changed the zoning of three properties on Erie Road and two properties on Herr Road.

On Erie Road, the properties were changed from motor service to general business.

The Herr Road properties were switched from motor service to residential.

Those properties were originally motor service businesses. Now that they are no longer used for that purpose, the zoning had to be altered.

If one of those buildings burned down, the owner could not rebuild a home or small business in an area zoned for motor service.

In other action at the meeting, the board:

• Approved the installation of lights and wooden poles along Eden-Evans Center Road.

• Accepted the resignation of David Mosher as chairman of the Evans Conservation Advisory Commission because of health concerns and appointed Thomas Marks as chairman for the rest of the year.

• Authorized an advertisement for bids to remove trees on Timber Avenue.

By Dave Dahl

The Sun News

24 July 2008