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Town of Plattsburgh proposes wind facility law  

Credit:  DAN HEATH, Press-Republican, pressrepublican.co 3 April 2011 ~~

PLATTSBURGH – The Town of Plattsburgh will hold a public hearing Monday on a proposed law covering wind energy facilities.

Local Law 3 of 2011 would only allow wind-energy facilities less than 100 feet in height that produce 100 kilowatts or less of power. The unit must primarily provide power to on-site residential, industrial or commercial use existing on the same lot or an adjoining lot under common ownership.

The law is designed to prevent large-scale commercial efforts, such as those in Altona and Ellenburg, and bar any large commercial towers in the Town of Plattsburgh.

Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said that while there is little acreage in the town where wind conditions could support a commercial project, there are parcels where part of a project could be located that would be primarily in another community.

“I believe this law represents the best interests of the residents and businesses in the Town of Plattsburgh and still leaves room for alternatives,” he said.

FALL ZONE

Any wind-power unit would need site-plan approval by the Town of Plattsburgh Planning Board. It would also require a building permit.

Each applicant would need a long-form environmental assessment that includes a visual-impact and other assessments deemed necessary by the Planning Board.

The proposed law states only one tower is allowed per property. The maximum hub height is 100 feet, and the maximum blade length is 20 feet.

According to the proposed law, each unit must have a fall zone with a radius at least equal to 1.5 times the turbine height. It may not include public roads, overhead transmission lines, dwellings and other structures inhabited by humans.

NOISE CONTROL

The blades must be at least 15 feet above the ground at the lowest point.

Each unit must provide power to on-site residential, agricultural, industrial or commercial use on the same parcel or an adjoining property under common ownership.

The noise level can’t exceed five decibels of the ambient noise levels or 55 decibels, whichever is less. That is to be measured from any property line owned by someone other than the tower owner.

The units must include an automatic braking or governing system to prevent uncontrolled rotation and the resultant excess pressure on the tower.

PENALTy set

The units must be installed by a qualified wind-energy installer. The electrical connections and structural integrity must be inspected by the town and New York Board of Fire Underwriters or another electrical and structural inspection agency prior to operation.

Wind-technology companies continue to develop small units that would be allowed under the proposed law. There are units available that could be mounted to a light pole or roof.

The rotor diameter of roof-mounted units can’t exceed 7 feet, and the total height can’t exceed 10 feet. The lowest level of the blades must be at least 15 feet above the ground or any outdoor surfaces that could be occupied by people, such as balconies.

Anyone who fails to meet the requirements of the proposed local law could be fined up to $250 per day that violations continue.

A copy of the proposed legislation is available at the Plattsburgh Town Clerk’s Office.

The public hearing is set for 6:35 p.m. at Plattsburgh Town Hall, 151 Banker Road.

Source:  DAN HEATH, Press-Republican, pressrepublican.co 3 April 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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