PARISHVILLE – Local towns continue to push forward in their attempts to create wind laws – undeterred by the state’s decision to seize control of all large scale energy projects.
Even as uncertainty over the future of wind turbines in the region remains, Parishville is one of several local towns who continue to work toward finalizing the details of their proposed law.
Town Supervisor Jerry G. Moore said the town’s wind law is “90 percent” complete, and he is hopeful board members will be able to vote on the proposal as soon as next month’s meeting.
“There are just a few odds and ends left to discuss,” Mr. Moore said. “We want to get this to a vote and go from there.”
Town officials throughout the state were thrown in the middle of a messy debate last month after lawmakers decided they will have final say when it comes to any energy projects, including the development of wind turbines, which produce 25 or more megawatts of power.
With a single wind turbine producing an average of 2 megawatts of power, the law demands state control over wind farms featuring roughly 12 or more wind turbines. Their decision has created some doubt with many officials as to the viability of their law.
“At any time the state could put their thumb on us and say, ‘That’s a nice law you have there but we’ll take it from here,'” board member Rodney G. Votra said.
Despite the uncertainty, officials in Parishville have been working for months to secure a set of requirements for prospective wind developers.
While no companies have directly contacted the town about the possibility of building in their area, Mr. Moore said there is a sense of urgency to finish the proposal.
With neighboring towns like Hopkinton already fielding proposals for a large scale farm, Mr. Moore said Parishville has to be ready in the event a company does approach them with an offer to build in the town.
“We need to get this project moving,” Mr. Moore said. “We have to be ready for when we do have the possibility of a wind farm.”
The proposal is approaching the final phase after a joint meeting earlier this month between the town board and planning board, where members hashed out a number of the technical details of the project.
A meeting with the town’s attorney, Roger B. Linden, is scheduled for next week, and Mr. Moore is hoping to have a final draft ready for a vote next month.
But with the planning stages of the proposed law wrapping up, board members have decided they are no longer in need of the service’s Hodgson Russ, the Buffalo-based consulting firm that has been helping the town throughout the development of the law.
Mr. Linden suggested in May the board hire a consultant to help guide them through the legal hoops required for creating the law.
But after paying the consultant nearly $400 per hour for their work with the town, board members agreed the price was too steep to continue working with the firm.
“We pretty much know what we want,” Councilwoman Kari E. Tremper said. “Let’s cut our losses and cut ties with them (Hodgson Russ). It’s not rocket science anymore.”
The town will continue to work through the details of the law, including noise restrictions and zoning issues, before holding a pubic meeting next month to discuss the plan.
The town has also scheduled a meeting with officials from Hopkinton on Aug. 8, where both boards will meet with representatives from Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., to discuss the power company’s interest in creating a wind farm in the region.
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