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HAMMOND – The Hammond wind committee’s setback recommendations to the Hammond Town Board are much stricter than any of those contained in the original version of the wind energy facilities law, currently under moratorium until late July.
Borrowing a significant sample of recommendations made by Concerned Residents of Hammond, the wind committee Monday voted to approve the following setbacks as recommendations to the town board:
* One and a half miles from Rte. 12 for 500-foot-tall wind turbines and one mile from Rte. 12 for turbines of 375 feet or shorter (to mitigate bird migration and bat issues, as well as viewshed). This motion, made by Ronald R. Papke and seconded by Merritt V. Young, passed 6-1, with Michele W. McQueer opposed and Rudolph A. Schneider, Frederick A. Proven, and Dr. Stephen D. Sarfaty not voting.
* 3,000 feet around village limits. The discussion began at 5,000 feet, with Mr. Proven saying he could live with 3,000. Mr. Young initially was opposed, saying, “Our kids and grandkids are in that damn school, and for a couple thousand additional feet, I’m not willing to jeopardize their safety to squeeze a few more turbines in there.” Further discussion ensued, with the vote being 8-1, with Mrs. McQueer opposed and Dr. Sarfaty again not voting.
* 3,000 feet from the center of all public roads and non-participants property lines. Again the motion was made by Mr. Papke and seconded by Mr. Young, with the outcome also at 8-1 with Mrs. McQueer opposed and Dr. Sarfaty not voting.
* 1,000 feet from all state and federal wetlands. Same 8-1 vote.
Dr. Sarfaty, who attended the meeting via Skype, said he would need to review new maps which showed the proposed setbacks before making his vote.
The new proposed setbacks varied greatly from those contained on the original version of the law. Current setbacks include:
* 500 feet from the nearest site boundary property line (unless adjacent landowners have a signed memorandum of understanding to a lesser footage).
* The greater of one and a half times the total tower height (714 feet for a 476-foot turbine, as is proposed for Hammond) or 500 feet from the nearest public road.
* 500 feet from the nearest edge of the Wind Overlay District.
* The greater of two and a half times the total tower height (1,190 feet for a 476-foot turbine) or 1,500 feet from the nearest off-site residence existing at the time of application, (again, unless adjacent landowners have agreed on less).
* One and a half times the total height of the WECS from any non-WECS structure or any aboveground utility.
Another recommendation approved by the committee Monday involved a project management report drafted by Mr. Proven. This report covers the construction phase, operation management, and permit requirements. Highlights of the report include an independent engineering firm, retained by the town and paid for by the wind company, that would regulate and oversee the construction phase; an on-site monitor, also retained by the town and paid for by the developer, in addition to weekly maintenance reports, during the life of the operational project; and a new permitting process if the wind farm is sold, in part or whole, to a new wind company.
A motion to approve was made by Donald A. Ceresoli Jr. and seconded by Leonard D. Bickelhaupt, and passed 8-1. Mrs. McQueer was opposed and Richard K. Champney was not present at the time of the vote.
Discussion also occurred on decommissioning and complaint resolution, but action was tabled until the next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in the village hall. At that meeting, the final scheduled meeting for the wind committee, a section by section review of the original wind law is expected and the committee will discuss putting together its final report for the town board.
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