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Irondequoit holds off on turbine opposition

IRONDEQUOIT – After lengthy discussion, Town Board members on Tuesday unanimously voted to table a resolution expressing opposition to a proposal for wind farms in Lake Ontario.

Two other shoreline towns, Webster and Greece, already have passed such resolutions. Irondequoit appeared ready to do so, but the board decided to get more input from citizens. Members said a decision would be made at October’s meeting instead.

“We should be careful in trying to solve one environmental issue that we don’t cause another,” said Supervisor Mary Joyce D’Aurizio, who said she has concerns about the impact on birds, fish, boaters, shoreline erosion and other issues. “The New York Power Authority has been secretive about its plans … I have been patient and I have asked.”

The New York Power Authority has announced plans for offshore wind turbines, but lack of information about the proposed wind farms has been a persistent criticism. The power authority has been promoting the project for two years and in June began reviewing five proposals from private-sector developers.

But the Westchester-based authority won’t release any information about the proposals, including where the developers are seeking to erect turbines.

“I’m all for alternative energy,” said Town Board member Deborah Essley, “but this is not the kind of environmental energy that will benefit the people of this town.”

A few residents spoke in favor of the turbines, including Susan Nielsen of Van Voorhis Avenue.

Nielsen said oil refineries, electrical companies and mining operations are more environmentally damaging than the turbines would be.

In another matter, the board did not act on a proposal to place a 120-foot cellular tower on the Cooper Road site of the St. Paul Boulevard Fire Department. The applicant, Verizon Wireless, requested the matter be put on hold while they addressed concerns brought up by residents.

Verizon is seeking a special-use permit for the tower because zoning would not allow it there.