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Persia passes windmill law

PERSIA – Residents in the town of Persia will be able to place windmills on their property in accordance with a new law that was passed by the town at the February meeting.

“The Town of Persia adopts this Local Law to promote the effective and efficient use of the Town’s wind energy resource through wind energy conversion systems (WECS), and to regulate the placement of such systems so that the public health, safety and welfare will not be jeopardized,” the law reads.

The maximum height of any WECS is 420 feet. The minimum setback from property lines and nearest roads is 500 feet. Other restrictions include 100 feet from state wetlands, 500 feet from gas wells, 1,200 feet or 200 percent, whichever is greater, from boundaries of recreational areas, and one and a half times the total height of the WECS from any non-WECS or above ground utilities. The law also states that any WECS structure not functional for more than one year must be removed at the owner’s expense.

The law was subject to a public hearing prior to approval by the board. Resident Rich Leisner brought up a concern regarding how many WECS systems will be allowed on a property.

“I think my concern would be a strip of land with tower after tower after tower which does not look great,” Leisner said. “I would hate to see that come to Persia.”

Code Enforcement Officer Mel Shaw reassured the law addresses this issue.

“We have it in (the law) that the environmental impact (study) would have to be done and that would be one of the items that’s addressed in the environmental impact,” Shaw said.

The study which shall be completed by the SEQRA lead agency will focus on shadow flicker, visual impact, fire protection, noise analysis, property value assessments and electromagnetic interference assessments.

Shaw also said the law will not apply to certified farms within the town. Those with certified farms will have to go through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

“Farms are no longer part of the town’s jurisdiction when it comes to windmills except for how they are now for barns (etc). Farmers who (have) a certified farm have to go through Ag and Markets,” Shaw said.

Windmill permits must be filed with the code enforcement officer for all non-certified farm properties within the town. The law passed with majority vote of the town board.