HENDERSON – The Town Council is one step closer to being the first municipality in the north country to ban commercial wind towers.
On Thursday, the Henderson Town Council voted 4-1 to schedule a public hearing on a local law titled Wind Turbine Generating Facilities for Oct. 26, five days before the wind moratorium is slated to expire.
The purpose of the law is “to prohibit commercial wind farms and provide a mechanism to allow standards for private wind turbine towers designed for on-site home, farm and small commercial use and that are primarily used to reduce on-site consumption of utility power,” according to the law drawn up by Hancock & Estabrook LLP, Syracuse.
Councilman Frank W. Ross voted against the motion. Mr. Ross has consistently voted in favor of wind development. He has in the past received lease payments from wind companies.
Councilwomen Torre J. Parker-Lane and Carol A. Hall said the public hearing should be held in October to give summer residents an opportunity to voice their opinions at the public hearing. Town Attorney David A. Renzi said the board is required to advertise the local law for at least 10 days before a public hearing.
“If we’re not giving them 30 days, we’ve got to give them notice,” Councilman Steven C. Cote said. “This is pretty important to the town.”
Because of the short notice, the council will look into sending a copy of the four-page local law to all landowners in the town.
The council also voted 4-1 to extend the wind-development moratorium for an additional six months. Mr. Ross again opposed the motion. The current moratorium is scheduled to expire Oct. 31, leaving a window for commercial wind companies to make a move, Mrs. Parker-Lane said.
“We’re not trying to extend it to even go out that far,” she said. “We’re doing it because it ends at the end of October. We’ve worked really, really hard on this.”
The extension of the moratorium on wind farm applications will be in effect until April 30, and cover any gap from when the law is adopted by the Town Council to when it goes into effect.
Alex M. James and Joan Treadwell Woods, members of the wind committee that played a major role in establishing the law, said they are happy with the results.
“We’re pleased with it,” Mr. James said. “This is what we discussed. It is the end product we were shooting for. We fully support a complete ban.”
The public hearing is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Oct. 26 at the community center. The board is not expected to vote on the law at the hearing.
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