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Town Board mulls wind suggestions

HAMMOND – With James E. Langtry joining fellow councilman, James C. Pitcher on the sidelines, the Hammond Town Board will need all three remaining board members to agree in order for action to be taken on any wind issue vote.

Mr. Langtry’s sister, Susan L. Dunham, and Mr. Pitcher have signed wind leases with Iberdrola Renewables Inc. Both board members are now recusing themselves from wind discussions, leaving Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram and councilmen, Dr. James R. Tague and Douglas E. Delosh, with the three remaining votes.

“Any action will require the remaining three board members to vote in the affirmative,” Mr. Bertram said.

The town board held its second special meeting Monday for the purpose of reviewing recommendations made by the wind committee on the currently under-moratorium town wind law. Neither Mr. Langtry or Mr. Pitcher were in attendance.

The 10-member wind committee, appointed by the town board last March, met about 30 times and recently presented its final recommendations to the board. Committee members, including Rudolph A. Schneider, chairman, Ronald R. Papke, Merritt V. Young, Donald A. Ceresoli Jr., Richard K. Champney, Michele W. McQueer, Dr. Stephen D. Sarfaty, Frederick A. Proven, Allan P. Newell, and Leonard D. Bickelhaupt, made suggestions on noise and sound standards, a complaint resolution plan, and also developed the Real Property Value Guarantee (RPVG) and Project Oversight Control Board concepts.

Mr. Schneider, Mr. Papke, and Mr. Newell are working on the final report, which is expected to be ready for the town board by its next meeting on March 14.

Town board members commended the wind committee on its work.

“I feel the wind advisory committee has worked,” Mr. Bertram said. “It did seem like it took a long time for them to get direction, but there was a huge amount of documentation assembled and the committee did not just take opinions people offered without documentation to back them up.

“One of the most important things I hoped to accomplish with the advisory committee was public input,” the supervisor continued, “and if someone did not get a chance to get their views known, it was their own fault.”

Dr. Tague agreed.

“I feel the wind committee was a good cross section of Hammond residents,” he said. “They had a lot of information to discern and gave the town board good feedback and direction.”

Mr. Bertram, Dr. Tague, and Mr. Delosh have begun reviewing the committee’s recommendations. In July, the current year-long moratorium expires, leaving the board about four months to tweak and tinker.

“Viability will be up to Iberdrola,” Mr. Bertram said. “I think we will have possible sites for industrial wind turbines, given things like good neighbor agreements and other items.

“Iberdrola has indicated a project which could contain 75 turbines, but there are other projects in the state with as few as 13, so I would surmise that some type of project would be viable, especially including Morristown and possibly Oswegatchie.”

Monday evening, the board discussed committee recommendations on noise and setbacks, the RPVG, and project management, taking no action except for a 3-0 vote to forward the RPVG along to town attorney, Mentor, Ruden & Trivilpiece, Syracuse.

Another special meeting is scheduled for March 28 at 7 p.m. in the town offices to continue the discussion.