Wind committee tables vote on turbine setbacks
Credit: By Matt McAllister, The Journal, www.ogd.com 13 January 2011 ~~
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HAMMOND – Despite adopting a recommendation to the town board on acceptable sound levels for industrial wind turbine development, a suggested recommendation – tabled for next week on setback distances – may end the possibilities for a wind farm in Hammond altogether, according to members of the wind committee.
The committee voted 9 to 1, with leaseholder Michele W. McQueer again casting the lone opposing vote, to adopt Dr. Paul D. Schomer’s suggested sound limits for its recommendation to the town board.
The backbone of Dr. Schomer’s suggested noise standards includes three separate limits for different times of the day and night. According to the recommendation documents provided by the committee, these limits include: 45 decibels (dB) in the daytime from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; 40 dB in the evening from 7 to 10 p.m.; and 35 dB during nighttime hours from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
However, it was during a discussion on setbacks that several committee members, including Don A. Ceresoli Jr., Richard K. Champney, and Leonard D. Bickelhaupt, suggested that the committee’s recommendation may be to suggest that industrial wind development is just not right for Hammond.
“If our (setback) recommendations narrow the wind overlay district down to 10 feet, no developer is going to come here,” Mr. Ceresoli said. “Why not just recommend that no turbines will be allowed at all?”
“I’d vote for that,” said Merritt V. Young, a staunch anti-development advocate.
These comments followed a lengthy discussion on setback distances, during which committee members, one by one, offered their opinions.
Mr. Champney, a real estate attorney, said he supported a 1.5 mile setback from Route 12, pointing out that “Gold Coast” property values are high and “sixty percent of the Hammond tax base.”
Mr. Young said he was for a setback from the village of “at least 5,000 feet.”
“I’m with the CROH (Concerned Residents of Hammond) recommendations,” he added.
Allen P. Newell also said he supported the CROH recommendations, which include: a two-mile buffer setback distance from both the St. Lawrence River and the Black Lake shoreline; as well as at least 5,000 feet from the village and all sensitive areas (including the school, medical center, and library); at least 3,000 feet from all roads, adjacent property lines, and each other (between turbines); and, at least 1,000 feet from all wetland areas.
Frederick A. Proven said he supported “no shadow flicker on non-participants property.”
Dr. Stephen D. Sarfaty said he lacked the necessary information to make a recommendation.
“This is the area of most concern and least data,” Dr. Sarfaty said.
“It leaves me with two alternatives. Either extending the moratorium for another three years to collect information, or an extra conservative recommendation of two miles from the lake and river and 2,000 feet from property lines and roads.”
A motion to adopt the CROH suggestions was made by Mr. Young and seconded by Mr. Newell, but eventually, the issue was tabled after a motion by Mr. Champney, who said he wanted more time to review the issue.
His motion was seconded by Ronald R. Papke, who said he would have the St. Lawrence County Planning Office draw up a new map depicting the CROH setback suggestions for the next meeting, which occurs on Monday at 7 p.m., back in the village hall.
Agenda items for Monday, according to Rudolph A. Schneider, chairman, include a project management proposal by Frederick A. Proven that was tabled Wednesday; revisiting the setback issue; a decommissioning proposal distributed to committee members by Mr. Newell; turbine lighting and radar interruption; conflict resolution; and information on required safety measures handed out by Leonard D. Bickelhaupt.
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