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Parishville officials want local participation at wind energy public hearing

PARISHVILLE – The town of Parishville will once again consider a local law for regulating wind energy facilities.

This time around, town officials are hoping it’s Parishville residents, not out-of-town wind advocates and opponents, who turn out and offer input at the public hearing for the law.

The town council voted unanimously Tuesday morning to set a public hearing for 7 p.m. April 17 to consider the local wind law. The proposed law has been revised four times and is now ready for the public’s review, according to town planning board member Fred Wilhelm.

“The planning board has gone through it. We’ve studied it at length. We’ve had several public hearings,” Mr. Wilhelm said.

The proposed law in its current form has been recommended by the town’s attorney, Mr. Wilhelm said.

“It’s going to allow the planning board to create a wind district,” Mr. Wilhelm said of the law. “The towers can only go inside a wind overlay district.”

Some town officials had already heard enough from individuals outside of Parishville who crowded previous wind law hearings.

“We’ve had many public hearings. The same people come. And the same people say the same thing,” Town Supervisor Jerry G. Moore said afterward. “We don’t really want to sit for two hours or three hours and listen to the same people, and none of whom live here.”

Councilwoman Kari Tremper said she only wanted consider input from town residents this time around. The majority of previous public hearing attendees have not been from Parishville, she said.

“I don’t want to sit down and listen to a bunch of people that aren’t from the town of Parishville,” she said. “I’m not trying to be mean. But the few meetings we had about the wind law, I asked who here was from Parishville … There was 15 people out there b—chin’ at us, telling us what we’re supposed to be doing and these aren’t even people from our own town.”

Ms. Tremper said each person who attends next month’s hearing will have to state their residency when they speak.

“Then I can shut my brain off if they’re not from the town of Parishville,” she said.

Mr. Wilhelm suggested the town list of all the wind energy data and written arguments submitted at previous public hearings.

“In other words, you’ve got it on record that you’ve looked at it,” he said. “You don’t want somebody getting up and re-reading all that stuff.”

Mr. Moore suggested the town board only allot 30 minutes for next month’s public hearing, a proposal Ms. Tremper advised against.

“On the odd chance that there were five or six people in the town that didn’t get to say their speech, and we limited it to a half an hour, we would hear nothing but that from them,” she said. “People would feel like they didn’t get a chance to speak.”