May 1, 2011
New York

Wind company favors old law


HAMMOND – Iberdrola Renewables last week asked the Town Council to keep in place its “reasonable” wind law and not adopt the recommendations of the town’s wind advisory committee.

The company, which wants to build its Stone Church Wind project in the town, believes the town’s existing law “is reasonable and consistent with the majority of 15 operating wind farms in New York state,” said spokeswoman Jenny L. Burke.

The wind advisory committee’s recommendations – addressing sound limits, property setbacks and a requirement that Iberdrola reimburse owners who believe a wind farm would lower their property value – essentially would kill the project, Ms. Burke said.

“If you take the committee’s recommendations as is, you’re eliminating a project before a site-specific plan and our environmental impact statement have even been produced,” she said.

Coupled with more intensive studies that will meet any regulations set forth by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. 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.

“You would basically be not allowing us to give you a proposal to consider,” she said.

Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram asked Ms. Burke why the recommendations would preclude wind development.

“The setbacks and sound standards alone would eliminate a project,” Ms. Burke said.

Town attorney Joseph W. Russell said he had concerns about whether the so-called “Real Property Value Guarantee” clause recommended by the wind committee would be enforceable.

He said such a clause would lack teeth – it would require both the property owner and developer to sign onto it voluntarily – and could open the town to litigation.

The board voted 3-0 to have Mr. Russell present language that would work the property value agreement into the town’s wind law.

The board will continue its review of wind advisory committee recommendations at 7 p.m. Monday and 7 p.m. May 16 at Town Hall.

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