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Wind farm site plan expected in early ’11

CAPE VINCENT – St. Lawrence Wind Farm developer Acciona Wind Energy USA is predicting an early 2011 submission of the site plan application for the project.

“We’ve got some work to do,” said Timothy Q. Conboy, project manager for Acciona. “It would be January at the earliest, or February, before we’d be ready.”

The developer first submitted a plan for the wind power project in November 2006, which triggered the state environmental quality review process. That process ended when the town Planning Board approved the final environmental impact statement and adopted findings Sept. 15.

The Planning Board adopted site plan criteria – a list of studies, plans and reports – the developer must submit during a Wednesday night meeting that was interrupted by protesters. The criteria were obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

The developer must collect consent letters or memoranda of agreements from all participating landowners, provide detailed drawings, setbacks and project boundary maps and gather required state and federal permits for the turbines, access roads, electrical collection system and transmission line.

The work remaining includes conducting an aerial survey of the project area, conducting a preliminary geotechnical investigation and developing engineering plans, Mr. Conboy said.

“There are some other components left,” he said.

The developer and town also have to agree on a road use plan, decommissioning plan, dust control plan, controlled blast plan and finalized complaint resolution plan. As the project proceeds, the developer likely will have to conduct potable well studies, as well as more detailed geotechnical evaluations, to gain site plan approval.

“On some, we are taking it to the next level of detail,” Mr. Conboy said. “With others, the Planning Board wants to see draft plans, which would be finalized as a condition of site plan approval.”

The complaint resolution plan will use sound limits described in the findings, according to the site plan criteria. The findings recognize the disparity of background sound extrapolated by the developer’s engineers and by the town’s independent engineers. But in the complaint resolution, the developer will put in the state Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines of no created noise above six decibels above background sound levels.

“The language and standard are in SEQR and we will just update it to reflect that,” he said.

The developer will work with the Development Authority of the North Country on a contingency plan in case the project’s power line construction disturbs DANC’s regional water line.

Acciona also expects to file an application for a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, but Mr. Conboy doesn’t know when that will occur yet.