HAMMOND – Concerned Residents of Hammond President Mary D. Hamilton made a presentation to the wind committee Thursday, including the group’s recommendations for setback requirements for the placement of industrial wind turbines.
The first part of CROH’s position paper focuses on Hammond’s natural water resources – the shorelines of the St. Lawrence River and Black Lake.
Citing several resources, including the New York State Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance (SASS), New York State Historic Preservation Office (NYSHPO), Department of Environmental Conservation’s New York Natural Heritage Program, and the Audobon Society, Mrs. Hamilton said, “The fact Hammond lies between two amazing water resources not only provides a unique distinction but poses a special situation, particularly with regards to the wildlife and migratory bird and bat population, and their scenic, environmental, recreational, and historical significance.
“These areas deserve special consideration in formulating setback conditions for an industrial wind law for the Town of Hammond.”
CROH recommended establishing a two-mile buffer setback distance from both bodies of water.
The second part of the position paper focused on safety and health as they pertain to setbacks, including shadow flicker, debris and ice throw, and protection for property lines, residences, sensitive areas (medical facilities, libraries, schools, etc.), wetland areas and other industrial-sized wind turbines.
Mrs. Hamilton said CROH believes the current setbacks, established by the under-moratorium Wind Energy Facilities Law of 2009, “are grossly inadequate to protect our community from possible health and safety hazards.” These include:
* 714 feet (or 1.5 times the proposed turbine height of 476 feet) from the nearest site boundary property line;
* 714 feet from the nearest public road;
* 714 feet from the nearest edge of the Wind Overlay District;
* 1,500 feet from the nearest off-site residence existing at the time of application; and
* 714 feet from any non-WECS structure or any aboveground utilities
“While a wind company will argue the information presented here can be easily refuted,” Mrs. Hamilton said, “they can’t ignore turbine structure failures that have been publicized worldwide, homeowners who have left their homes for health reasons caused from sleep deprivation and other issues, or wildlife species who face extinction.”
CROH recommended establishing the following setbacks “for protection of the non-participating residents”:
* At least 5,000 feet from the Village of Hammond and all sensitive areas;
* At least 3,000 feet from all roads and adjacent property lines in the town of Hammond;
* Turbines at least 3,000 feet from each other; and
* At least 1,000 feet from all wetland areas
Committee members were each given copies of the CROH position paper, as well as a CD containing all of the resources used to establish CROH’s position. No comments were made to Mrs. Hamilton and no action was taken.
The majority of the rest of the meeting was dedicated to establishing a timeline and topics for moving forward, as Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram’s deadline approaches.
Mr. Bertram told the committee that he has proposed town board meetings on the fourth Monday in Jan., Feb., and March to address wind law issues. He also said he was not opposed to receiving section by section reports and recommendations from the committee.
The Hammond Wind Committee meets next on Monday at 7 p.m. in the village hall.