PARISHVILLE – Town Supervisor Jerry G. Moore said he hopes discussions over possibly bringing a wind turbine development to Parishville and the neighboring town of Hopkinton will not divide his community.
“Some towns have quite a conflict over them, but I don’t know if we will,” Mr. Moore said Friday. “Because where we possibly want to put them will be more in a rural place, not near the village or homes, more or less out in the fields and woods.”
A community forum on the feasibility of bringing an industrial wind development to the Parishville-Hopinton area will be held from 10 a.m. until noon today at the Parishville Fire Hall at 25 Rutman Road, Parishville.
The event is being sponsored by Iberdrola Renewables regarding plans the company has for its North Ridge Wind Farm project in parts of Parishville and the adjacent town of Hopkinton.
Iberdrola is in the early stages of planning a large-scale wind project in the area and has already signed contracts with approximately 15 landowners in both communities, according to town and county officials.
During the past week the company began circulating leaflets asking residents to attend today’s meeting to ask questions and meet the project developers.
Mr. Moore said approximately 40 wind turbines are being proposed by Iberdrola, and that he has been in close talks with company officials who think there are parts of Parishville and Hopkinton that are prime for building a wind farm. He said their view is a complete turnaround from about five years ago, when he first tried unsuccessfully to generate interest in wind development in the community.
“I was told then that Parishville didn’t have enough average wind speeds to really support a wind farm, but now, in just five years the technology has grown so that we are a prime candidate for a wind farm,” Mr. Moore said.
St. Lawrence County Planning Office Deputy Director Jason C. Pfotenhauer said there are between 15 and 18 property owners located in both Parishville and Hopkinton who have signed potential leases with Iberdrola to allow wind turbine construction. Approximately 60 different parcels of land are involved, he said.
He said the county planning office is working with both communities to develop a local law setting the parameters for wind farm development, but that so far those laws remain unfinished.
“We are years away from any wind towers being built in Parishville or Hopkinton but certainly the municipalities are thinking about it and looking at having some type of regulation for that type of development in the community,” Mr. Pfotenhauer said. “They have a zoning law that deal with development type activities, but they do not have a wind development law in place.”
Mr. Moore said the wind turbine law his planning board is working on will deal with issues such as where the towers can be located, as well as requiring the development company to post performance bonds and have insurances in place to make sure removal will take place should the towers go out of service.
“Hopefully, if we do it right, it won’t hurt too many people,” Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Moore said today’s meeting at the Parishville Fire Hall is open to anyone, pro or con, who wants to know more about wind development in general and specifics of Iberdrola’s current development proposal. He said company officials will be on hand to answer as many questions as possible.
“I want everyone to come, that’s why we’re doing it this way. We want to hear from everybody,” Mr. Moore said.
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