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Richfield Town Board delays vote on construction of wind turbines

The Town of Richfield Planning Board held a meeting Monday night to vote on whether or not to approve a special permit that would allow the construction of six wind turbines in the town.

The board, as well as town attorneys, agreed to extend the vote to a meeting that will be held next Tuesday, November 22nd, because of the complexity of project proposed.

Town of Richfield Attorney David Merzig saying, the would-be developer Monticello Hills Wind, LLC has applied to the town to build six wind turbines and then sell the electricity from them.

While wind turbines offer a greener source of energy, many residents filled the town hall protesting the proposed construction, saying it will not only change the landscape of their town and hurt property values, but many are concerned about the health risks they’ve seen wind turbines cause to humans, as well as to bats, birds, and insects, in turn, hurting crops. “The town received many letters from people saying that this is a good mechanism for generating electricity as opposed to coal fire plants or nuclear plants,” says Merzig. “Obviously wind turbines have less impact on the environment.”

While residents like Monticello dairy farmer Rex Seamon don’t see the benefits. “We really don’t need this project here because we are already 80 percent green from the hydro-plants here,” says Seamon. “Its going to the southern tiers and we just don’t need that eyesore I think.”

Merzig says that it’s a two-step process, the environmental impact the turbines would have on the town needs to be determined and okayed first, then the planning board will determine whether or not to grant the special use permit and authorize the project.

The town extended the vote to next Tuesday as more complaints and concerns arise. A new building permit very close to where the turbines will be built was approved the past week, which could pose an issue.

Merzig assures the planning board and protestors that the project won’t be approved and no ground will be broken until everything is looked into fully and approved.