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Hammond’s wind committee outlines goals

HAMMOND – With the clock ticking and eight meetings slated between now and the end of December, the Hammond Wind Committee has set up a schedule to finish its recommendations on the current wind ordinance.

Meeting last week in the village hall, the committee established meeting dates of Monday, Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 15, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, and Dec. 20 to complete its task. All meetings are at 7 p.m. at the village hall.

Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram has instructed the committee to finish its work by the end of December so the town board can have time to review and make changes to the wind law accordingly, before the end of the current one-year moratorium, which expires in July.

“We may have to add more meetings as we move forward,” said Ronald R. Papke, tri-chair, of the committee’s schedule.

Two sub-groups were announced – one to study background noise after the recent tutorial with sound specialist Charles E. Ebbing, the other to explore the possibilities of conducting a town-wide survey on attitudes about wind turbines.

“Any survey, at this point, would be tainted,” said Michele W. McQueer, another of the wind committee’s tri-chairs.

The survey sub-group consists of Frederick A. Proven and Allan P. Newell, committee members, and Douglas E. Delosh, town board liaison, while the sound sub-group is made up of Mrs. McQueer, Rudolph Schneider (tri-chair), and Donald A. Ceresoli Jr. of the wind committee, Mr. Bertram, and community volunteers, Allison and Ann Root and Thomas Chapman.

Mr. Papke explained that the sound sub-group would be broken up into three teams of two, with each group being designated to take sound measurements from one of three sections of the committee-divided wind overlay district.

Mr. Ceresoli asked how many measurements each group should take, and wondered about a time frame.

“As many as possible by next meeting (Monday),” said Mr. Papke.

The committee also agreed upon a visit to the Maple Ridge Wind Farm, another Iberdrola Renewables project in Lewis County, on Oct. 9. A group will leave Hammond at approximately 9 a.m.

Several committee members suggested visits as well to wind farms on Wolfe Island and in the Chateaugay area.

Iberdrola representative, Jenny Burke, said the Maple Ridge visit would take about two hours, but also said the company would accommodate the committee with as much time as it needed. She also suggested a visit to a current Iberdrola project in Herkimer County, the Hardscrabble Wind Farm, which is utilizing 100-meter windmills, as are proposed in Hammond.

The other three suggested destinations, Ms. Burke said, contain 80-meter turbines.

The remainder of the meeting was used to establish priority of issues moving forward, with the following discussed as potential discussions:

* Economic impacts, to include impacts on property values, PILOT agreements vs. full assessment, tourism impacts, employment, and town/property owner liability. Mr. Papke suggested bringing in Amanda Miller, owner/broker of Lake Ontario Realty, for a first-hand account of potential impact to property values. He said Mrs. Miller does business in the Henderson and Cape Vincent areas.

* Sound, which the committee tabled until data could be collected by the sound sub-group. Ms. Burke also stated that Iberdrola would begin its “leaf-on sound study” next week and that a “leaf-off study” would be conducted in October. Experts said there will be a different level of background noise when leaves are on trees, compared to when the leaves are off the trees.

Two other talking points, including quality of life issues and decommissioning/complaint resolution, were listed but not discussed.