HOPKINTON – The Hopkinton Town Board is drafting a law governing the installation of wind turbines, and a handful of residents have reportedly inked deals with Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. to allow turbines to be placed on their property should wind farm development take place.
Supervisor Stephen J. Bory said Thursday a draft local law on the development of wind turbines is now in the hands of St. Lawrence County Planning officials and that he expects the Hopkinton Town Council to vote on adopting the law within the next three months.
Mr. Bory, a staunch advocate of bringing wind power to the municipality, said he has the support of the town council as well.
“Let me put it this way, the board is in favor of it,” Mr. Bory said. “Right now (county) planning is doing some revisions to the model.”
Mr. Bory said he believes building wind turbines in Hopkinton will bring revenue to a community that is struggling to generate enough money to maintain even basic services for taxpayers. He said the township of approximately 1,000 people has an annual operating budget of about $1 million, and that more than half of that amount is raised by property taxes.
He also points to a declining population in the rural township and a lack of private sector development as reasons to look toward wind energy as a way to shore up the municipality’s bottom line and to help take some of the pressure off cash-strapped land owners.
“It would bring money in. We need money badly here,” Mr. Bory said. “Look around. There’s not one tower, there’s not one hydro station, there’s no NiMo here, there’s nothing.”
Barbara G. Phippen, a resident of the Green Road in Hopkinton, said her husband Harold C. and the couple’s two sons have already signed separate lease agreements with Iberdrola Renewables Inc. to allow for turbines to potentially be placed on approximately 500 acres of land the family owns.
She said she also knows of several other families in Hopkinton who have made similar agreements with Iberdrola.
“Yes, several people have signed the lease,” Mrs. Phippen said.
Mrs. Phippen said she is unsure how many wind turbines the company is looking at building in Hopkinton, but was told it takes roughly 80 acres of land for one turbine. She said her family was also told that a test windmill will first have to be erected and that it could be years before construction takes place.
“It is in the very basic planning stages and they some land made available to them if it works,” Mrs. Phippen said. “But they are under several other projects that are going to be occupying their time over the next year or so. I don’t foresee them starting at any particular time.”
Mr. Bory said the draft law on wind turbines now in the hands of county planning officials deals with a number of issues including how far the turbines must be located from roads and dwellings, and the company’s responsibility for maintaining the turbines.
He said the way the draft law stands right now, a wind turbine constructed in the town of Hopkinton would have to be placed at least “the height of a tower and a half” from neighboring roads and structures.
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