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Proposed wind energy legislation draws questions, concerns; New Hartford Town Planning Board gives negative recommendation  

Credit:  By KESHIA CLUKEY, Observer-Dispatch | www.uticaod.com 11 June 2012 ~~

NEW HARTFORD – Proposed wind energy legislation was met with many questions Monday night at the New Hartford Town Planning Board meeting.

The proposed local law would regulate and site wind energy facilities as there is no current legislation in place.

The Town Planning Board unanimously voted to send a negative recommendation to the Town Board.

The Town Board is expected to vote on the proposed local law at its 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday at Butler Hall.

Member Jerome Donovan had concern over allowing windmills on residential properties based on issues with aesthetics, safety and practical use.

“I’m a little skittish about moving this type of legislation forward without an updated comprehensive plan,” Donovan said.

Several planning board members brought up issues regarding regulation with the setback of the windmills, meaning how far they are away from the road and adjacent properties.

The proposed ordinance, breaks windmills into three classifications, large with a maximum height of 500 feet, small with a maximum height of 180 feet, and residential with a maximum height of 50 feet, said Town Codes Officer Joseph Booth.

The proposed law also includes criteria for issues such as visual impact, noise, electromagnetic interference, avian impact and fiscal and economic impact, Booth said.

Without legislation the current procedure would be for someone proposing a wind energy project to take it to the Town Codes Officer. Booth said he would deny it based on a lack of previous case law and refer them to the Town Zoning Board.

The Town Board held a public hearing on the local law at its last meeting on May 23.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation, Oneida County Health Department, New Hartford Fire Chief Tom Bolanowski, and county Department of Planning all gave positive recommendations or had no negative comments on the proposed legislation.

Wind energy legislation

*The Town Board is proposing legislation to regulate and site wind energy facilities as there is no current legislation in place. It includes specifications such as how far from the road and adjacent properties windmills must be, which zones they can be located in and the proper permit and application processes.

*The proposed ordinance breaks windmills into three classifications, large with a maximum of 500 feet tall and greater than 150 kilowatts, small with a maximum of 180 feet tall and 150 kilowatts or less, and residential with a maximum of 10 kilowatts or less.

*For a copy of the proposed legislation visit the town website, www.newhartfordtown.com or go to the Town Clerk’s Office located in Butler Hall.

What’s next?

The New Hartford Town Board is expected to vote on the wind energy law at its 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday at Butler Hall.

Source:  By KESHIA CLUKEY, Observer-Dispatch | www.uticaod.com 11 June 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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