LITCHFIELD – The Litchfield Town Board voted 3-1 Tuesday night in favor of extending a moratorium on wind projects into March 2012.
The decision came after an hour and fifteen minutes of comments from many of the about 100 people in attendance at the Litchfield offices for a public hearing on the issue.
Litchfield residents on both sides of the issue passionately pleaded their case to the Town Board.
Some people emotionally asked the board to stop the moratorium and make a decision because the proposed wind project is tearing apart families and friendships.
Others asked the board to take more time to make a decision because they have concerns about their property values and the peaceful setting of the town.
“Why does our life have to be for sale?” said Patricia Christensen, the spokeswoman for Litchfield United, who was in favor of extending the moratorium. “Why does everything that we love have to have a price tag on it?”
Albany-based NorthWind and Power has proposed building a wind farm with eight to 12 turbines on Dry Hill in the town, but Litchfield officials are still in the process of developing their wind ordinances.
A moratorium was already in place into March of this year, but the town needs more time to develop its wind law, Litchfield Deputy Supervisor Kate Entwistle said.
If the town passes a wind law, it would end the moratorium, and there is a possibility that could happen as soon as this spring, Town Board members said.
Patrick Doyle, the president and founder of NorthWind and Power, said extending the moratorium delays the process of the company submitting a formal proposal to the town. Environmental reviews and further public input then could take place, and the company could provide full information about the potential benefits of the project, he said.
“By extending the moratorium, the public at large is not being allowed to get a look at what the project might look like,” Doyle said.
Litchfield resident Jared Sessum also was disappointed the moratorium was extended because he thinks the board has already taken more than enough time to review possible wind laws.
“I think it’s overkill,” Sessum said.
But other residents such as Kevin Coates, a retired lieutenant commander from the U.S. Navy, were happy with the extension because they don’t believe the project is right for Litchfield, and they want the Town Board members to carefully review the issue.
“They need more time,” Coates said. “This is not something to rush into.”
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