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Madison declares moratorium on wind turbines

MADISON – The Madison Town Board unanimously passed a one-year moratorium on wind energy farms at a special meeting Thursday evening.

Town Supervisor Ron Bono said the board doesn’t feel the town’s current regulations adequately protect residents. Regulations regarding wind energy were created only a year ago but need to be amended to address the town’s latest concerns, he said.

After mass criticism of the town’s handling of a $110 million, 36-turbine wind farm proposal and the details of the project, which would add, at most, another 36 turbine’s to the town’s existing 11, the planning board presented the moratorium to the town board to take action. A public hearing was held June 11 during which the vast majority of commenters supported the moratorium.

The town boards will have one year to review and revise existing ordinances to address concerns over the proposed project’s size and scope, including turbine heights and how close they can be built to homes. The town’s 10-year-old comprehensive plan will also be updated, work that was begun a year ago but never completed, Bono said.

A seven-member committee of residents will be formed, appointed by the chairman of the planning board, to gather information to relay to the planning board.

Reading a letter on behalf of Madison Matters, Pam Fuller thanked Bono and the board for their action. The citizens group will “remain committed to its mission and the betterment of the entire community” and work with the planning and town boards during the moratorium, she said.

EDP Renewables North America, the company proposing to build Madison’s newest wind farm, has said the moratorium will not affect its project.

While the State Environmental Quality Review process started last year, Project Manager Jeffrey Nemeth said the company hadn’t plan to apply for a permit until 2014. Construction is slated for 2015, if town officials allow the project to continue.

In 2000, seven turbines were installed in Madison, marking the first commercial wind farm to be erected in New York State and east of the Mississippi River. Since then, 37 more turbines have been put up in Madison County.

The moratorium text can be found on the town’s website at:

www.townofmadisonny.org/