HAMMOND – Members of a sub-group formed by the Hammond Wind Committee declined comment about the background noise level study being conducted, but Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram suggested that data will be available as soon as the committee has time to compile it.
Wind committee tri-chair, Michele W. McQueer, who has signed a wind lease with Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., has said in the past that she doesn’t agree with predictions made by Charles E. Ebbing, a sound expert brought in by the committee, that background noise levels around Hammond will be in the 25 to 35 decibel range.
Her growing frustration at other members of the committee has become evident in exchanges at committee meetings.
Tuesday, she said the committee had “agreed not to” share their findings about sound with the public or press.
“I don’t want to get in trouble again,” by commenting, she said.
Mrs. McQueer is joined on the sound sub-group by fellow tri-chair, Rudolph Schneider, as well as Donald A. Ceresoli Jr., another wind committee member. Community volunteers, Allison and Ann Root and Thomas Chapman, join Mr. Bertram in rounding out the group.
While Mrs. McQueer and Mr. Ceresoli were discussing their sound data findings in front of the public prior to Monday’s committee meeting, their discussion was not shared with the committee, public, nor press during the meeting itself.
A phone call to Mr. Ceresoli went unanswered and unreturned.
Mr. Chapman said he and Mr. Schneider planned to get sound readings Wednesday evening, but that results would be shared with the committee only.
“If the committee wants to share the information, that’s up to them,” Mr. Chapman said.
Mr. Bertram said Thursday he hadn’t done any measurements yet. He reiterated that the sound study was simply an “exercise” and speculated that no information was being shared because of a lack of a sense of accuracy.
“Nobody wants to say the levels are such and such, because this is not a scientific study and was never intended to be,” he said.
The town supervisor said his understanding of the sound study is for the committee to determine whether background noise levels vary from place to place throughout Hammond.
“A recommendation that a multi-faceted approach in allowable sound levels within the law may be necessary,” Mr. Bertram suggested. “Allowable decibel levels may be different in various parts of town versus a relative standard for the entire community.”
Mr. Bertram said he thinks when the committee is done with the study, conclusions will be shared with the public. He went on to say that he feels the committee is making strides, despite the frustrations being publicly displayed at committee meetings, and that if the committee can cover three major areas by December, he will be satisfied with its work.
Mr. Bertram identified noise standards, setback distances, and complaint resolution as his biggest issues.
“I’m hoping that at some point, their recommendations will start coming. I think a good stride was made Monday in the discussions about protecting the river district. I feel they’ve latched on to something important there. I think there will be a recommendation coming out of that.”
Mr. Bertram said that the committee has already made the town board’s job easier in regards to reviewing the wind law with the documentation they have compiled.
“If nothing else, the information and the law have been looked at again. This board has committed itself to making adjustments (to the law) to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the residents of Hammond,” he said.
Mr. Bertram said more information for the public about background noise levels in Hammond should be available at the committee meeting Monday at 7 p.m. in the village hall.
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