HAMMOND – The town’s Wind Committee is recommending a three- to five-year moratorium on industrial wind development in a report issued Monday to the Town Council.
“It would be prudent to allow for adequate and scientifically staffed radar, sonar, and other data collection and analysis to be completed to address questions regarding potential bird, bat, and other wildlife impacts,” the committee’s report says. “This extended time could also be used to evaluate industrial wind development’s consequences for property values of adjacent lands.”
A moratorium on wind development approved last year expires in late July.
The 10-member Hammond Wind Advisory Committee was appointed by the Town Council in February 2010 and first met that March. The committee has met 31 times since, its work culminating in proposed changes to the town’s wind law.
Town Council members have taken no formal action on the 50-page proposed law, except to forward the document along to attorney Joseph W. Russell, of Syracuse-based, Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece.
Wind farm developer Iberdrola Renewables has been in Hammond gathering data for the Stone Church Wind Farm since 2005, when the first of three wind test towers was put in place to determine the viability of an industrial wind project.
The committee report says data the towers have collected is proprietary and will not be made available to the town board. Two more test towers were installed last summer.
The wind advisory committee, the second of its kind in Hammond, was cleaning up what members have called a flawed document.
The Town Council in 2007 first established a wind committee to begin initial review of wind development. The first version of the Hammond Local Wind Energy Facilities Law was passed in October 2008, but was rescinded in December 2008 after Concerned Residents of Hammond filed a lawsuit claiming the town board had made an error in the required State Environmental Quality Review process.
A second version of the law was approved on Dec. 7, 2009, less than a month before then-Supervisor Janie G. Hollister and councilmen Russell Stewart and Ronald Tully II were replaced by current Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram and councilmen Dr. James R. Tague and Douglas E. Delosh.
When the council’s membership changed, and a new wind advisory committee was appointed.
The wind advisory committee report says members have made “an early commitment to focusing its emphasis on evaluating all issues from the viewpoint of all of the Hammond town residents, particularly the nonparticipants,” and stresses the importance of a “comprehensive law.”
“As a consequence of home rule, Hammond has the obligation, as well as opportunity, to lead in protecting the town’s long-term sustainable interests,” the report says. “If it’s not in the law, it will not be a requirement and will not be addressed.
“Hammond needs to control its own destiny.”
The town will again meet April 11 at 7 p.m. at the town offices, 17 North Main St. Special meetings for addressing the wind issue have been set for April 18 and April 25, also at 7 p.m. at the town offices.
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