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Finding a glitch, Henderson steps back on wind farm ban

HENDERSON – The Town Council took no action on its proposed wind law because some wording contradicts other elements of the statute.

During a public hearing Tuesday the board tabled voting on a law that would ban commercial and private wind towers because one section of the law bans the development of private wind towers, which is not the board’s intent.

The law’s purpose 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.” But another part of the law states commercial, private and wind measurement towers all will be banned.

Supervisor Raymond A. Walker said the board needs to clarify all discrepancies before the board’s November meeting.

“We’re conflicting on this, but effectively what we are trying to do is pass a law that is going to basically not allow commercial wind farms in the town of Henderson,” he said.

Mr. Walker said the board is working on provisions that will allow private windmills. Until that can be agreed on, the law is tabled.

The board was commended by people in attendance for its effort to be the first municipality in the north country to ban commercial wind towers.

Garret L. McCarthy, Henderson, said the law will benefit the town.

“This decision before the board is really a snapshot in time,” he said. “We can look north to Cape Vincent and see that is two years ahead of us if we go that direction. That’s not beneficial to the town.”

Residents from other towns showed up to voice their support.

Hammond resident Mary D. Hamilton, president of the anti-wind group Concerned Residents of Hammond, said the board’s actions are commendable.

“They are role models for how this can be done,” she said. “They took on a leadership role and I think if they pass it, other towns will follow their lead.”

Not all were in favor of the proposed law.

Greg L. Scott, Henderson, said he wants the board to seek more input from residents.

“Instead of just shutting the door on wind, they should ask the residents,” he said. “Maybe they shouldn’t go on the shoreline, but what about in the back areas? Why not there?”

Susan Grimshaw said she doesn’t want to see turbines on the shore but on farm land it shouldn’t be an issue.

“I do feel that, we’re farmers, we have the land and that I wouldn’t tell you all what you could do with your land and I really don’t think any individuals have the right to say what we can do with our land,” she said.

At the public hearing, the board voted 3-1 for a six month extension on its wind moratorium. Councilman Frank W. Ross voted no and Councilman Steven C. Cote was absent.