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Public hearing scheduled for proposed windmill

A public hearing on a special use permit sought by John Richmond to erect a wind generator on his farm at Langford and Jennings roads was scheduled by the North Collins Town Board for 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 at the town’s Senior Recreation Building.

Richmond wants to erect the windmill to offset the electric costs of his dairy farm, but is facing an end of the year deadline to commence work or lose out on government incentives that make his project economically viable.

Town Attorney Richard Schaus suggested the special hearing as a means to assist Richmond while the town is developing a local law concerning wind power generation.

Richmond has already altered his site plan to meet some of the proposed regulations a draft of the local law suggests, which is to be posted on the town’s website, and was amenable to further changes to make sure his project stays within town code.

A number of speakers addressed wind power in general and Richmond’s project specifically. Cameron Green of Eden spoke at length urging the town to fully investigate all the research that is available now on the impact of wind turbines on the environment and health.

Mark Ferrar, consultant to the Richmond project had no argument with Green’s concerns but stated that this project is for a much smaller windmill than the more noticeable commercial models which can generate 10 times the power of this project.

The specific plan calls for a maximum height of 174 feet and is not believed to require aviation hazard lighting.

A number of Richmond’s neighbors attended as well, each stating they had no problem with the project.

The board also set its next meeting on Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. to hold a public hearing for the town’s Community Development Block Grant application for next year.

To begin the budget process, several work session meetings were established, including Thursday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Senior Building. Additional meetings, if needed will be scheduled. The first budget work session was Sept. 17.

Councilman George LoBianco noted that in his capacity as a school bus driver, he noticed a large number of homes in the town do not have address numbers posted. He feels this hampers emergency responders should they be called to an address.

LoBianco said that some towns provide and install standardized address signs and tack the cost onto the property tax bill. Supervisor Thomas O’Boyle thought that the cost could be added to the fire protection line on the tax bill and suggested the board discuss the matter further during its budget work sessions.

Councilman Marian Vanni reported on a number of meetings she attended making special reference to a trip to the Wine Trail with representatives from the Town of Eden. She sees potential in developing a similar agricultural trail in the Southtowns.

Highway Superintendent David Winter reported that at a Highway Superintendent’s Conference it was encouraged to have town’s bond their highway superintendents. Schaus believed Winter was already bonded, but to be sure suggested the board pass a resolution to bond the highway superintendent, clerk and any position which handles money. The board agreed.

Winter also requested expenditure from his budget to replace the tires on one truck and the town pickup which was approved. He also recommended to the board that in replacing the next highway vehicle it should look into a compressed natural gas vehicle.

He further suggested contacting National Fuel on how to set up a compressed natural gas station in town as the fuel costs one-third as much as gasoline.

The next town board meeting will be held Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.