HAMMOND – The long-awaited and revamped local wind energy ordinance will be unveiled at a special Town Council meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the town offices, 17 North Main St.
“There won’t be any voting,” said Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram. “We’ll be introducing the amendments to the wind law.”
The town’s proposed law governing wind development, Local Law #1 of 2009, entitled “Wind Energy Facilities,” since it was first adopted in 2008 has been challenged in court, scrapped, and adopted again just before the board changed membership after the 2009 elections.
The current board has twice placed a moratorium on wind development, with the current version set to expire on July 26, according to Mr. Bertram.
He said after Thursday’s initial public look, the law must be sent to the St. Lawrence County Planning Office in Canton for review, voted upon by the county Planning Board, and a public hearing must be held to allow Hammond residents to voice their opinion on the law.
“That is all before the law can be passed,” Mr. Bertram said.
Proposed changes to the law include a residential property value guarantee agreement, written by wind committee member and Pulaski real estate attorney Richard K. Champney, which calls for assurances from a wind developer that if a property owner cannot get at least the appraised value of a home at sale because of the presence of wind turbines, the wind company is required to make up the difference. The proposal also requires the company to buy out property owners opposed to living near turbines.
Other recommendations include much stricter turbine setbacks from neighboring structures and highways, a multi-faceted set of noise standards developed by acoustical engineer Dr. Paul D. Schomer, a decommissioning plan, and the development of a variance and project oversight board.
Mr. Bertram, Dr. James R. Tague and Douglas E. Delosh, the three remaining voting members of the Town Council, have all voiced support for the amendments.
Councilmen James E. Langtry and James C. Pitcher continue to recuse themselves from wind energy discussions because of conflicts of interest – Mr. Pitcher has signed a lease with Iberdrola Renewables to allow turbine construction on his property, as has Mr. Langtry’s sister, Susan Dunham.
The approaching end of the moratorium is not the only deadline looming in Hammond. The town board’s make up could change again with November’s town election, in which three of the five board positions are up for grabs. Mr. Bertram, Mr. Langtry and Mr. Pitcher are all up for re-election.
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