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Wind report omits major issues; Report on proposed law contains no suggestions on noise, setbacks

MORRISTOWN – When the Morristown Wind Committee presented the Town Council with its proposed wind energy law in May, the document lacked noise standards and setback distances.

The board then turned to its consultants, LaBella Associates, to address the issues committee members said they didn’t feel qualified to address.

Now, six months later, LaBella has turned its version of the wind energy law to the town filled with suggestions – none of which addresses noise or setbacks.

“Before suggestions for the completion of this section can be offered, further discussion with the committee or with the board will be necessary to understand the town’s intent,” wrote Mark W. Tayrien, LaBella’s planning director.

“Simply put, given the residential density typically found in upstate N.Y., there is no feasible way to simply compute an appropriate setback or constraint that would be acceptable in all instances,” he wrote. “What could be seen as too strict in one community could just as easily be viewed as too lenient in another.”

Town Supervisor Frank L. Putman said the board now has to address those issues without the benefit of recommendations from either the wind committee or consultants.

“They’re in effect saying that these are areas that are going to be specific to our community and that they want us to put something in the law for them to review,” Mr. Putman said. “We, in our brain, thought that LaBella would make suggestions for the establishment of these two factors. This leaves us with that to decide.”

Faced with few options, Mr. Putman said, the town will now look at “similar laws that are working in other places.”

The town paid LaBella $3,500 for its consulting services.

No meetings or hearings have been scheduled to continue work on the wind law, though the Town Council next meets at 7 p.m. Dec. 14.