HAMMOND – The Hammond Town Board heard a final plea from an Iberdrola spokesperson and decided to look to its attorney for wordsmithing its wind law, but took no other formal action on recommendations made by the wind advisory committee at a special meeting Monday.
Iberdrola’s Jenny L. Burke said her company “believes the existing law is reasonable and consistent with the majority of 15 operating wind farms in New York State.”
“If you take the committee’s recommendations as is,” Ms. Burke said, “you’re eliminating a project before a site-specific plan and our environmental impact statement have even been produced.”
Coupled with more intensive studies that will meet any regulations set forth by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or state Department of Agriculture and Markets, Ms. Burke said Iberdrola could “offset any negative impacts” with the money and jobs such a project would generate in Hammond.
“You would basically be not allowing us to give you a proposal to consider,” she said, calling the committee’s recommendations “overly restrictive.”
“I guess I’m here to ask that you reconsider changing the existing law,” she said.
Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram asked why these regulations would preclude a project.
“The (recommended) setbacks and sound standards alone would eliminate a project,” Ms. Burke said.
Town Attorney Joseph W. Russell spoke about the Real Property Value Guarantee offered by the committee, saying his biggest concern with it fell under enforceability.
He said such a clause, which written as is, requires both the property owner and the developer to sign on voluntarily, would lack the teeth to cover breeches in agreement and could lead to a great deal of litigation.
Protection for the property owner, as the agreement attempts to provide, “should be built into the law,” according to Mr. Russell, rather than as a separate clause all its own and would include a “mechanism to measure property values and the negative impact of development.”
The board voted 3-0 to allow Mr. Russell to adapt language for the property value agreement as well as to improve a recommended section on complaint resolution, which Mr. Russell said lacked “due process.”
The attorney is also reviewing recommendations made on the decommissioning process and on the suggested Variance and Project Oversight Board.
Meetings have been established for May 2 and May 16 at 7 p.m. in the town hall to continue reviewing wind advisory committee recommendations.
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