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Morristown edges closer to passing wind energy law

MORRISTOWN – Six years after the Town of Morristown began the process of establishing a wind energy law, the first public hearing was held, Tuesday, paving the way for its possible passage at next week’s board meeting.

The law, yet to be given a number, would establish a review process designed to ensure the appropriate implementation of wind energy in Morristown.

Town Supervisor Frank L. Putman said, “We’re not making a law that means that development has to come to Morristown, just that we can deal with it if it comes.”

Stipulated in the law are regulations that will guide any future development of wind energy.

Turbines, for instance, will only be permitted in designated areas that are at least 1,200 feet away from residential zones and 1,700 feet away from either the St. Lawrence River or the Black Lake. Any project proposal will have to come along with environmental reviews, including studies looking at their impact on birds and bats.

An independent environmental review will also have to be undertaken, said Mark W. Tayrien, director of Planning Services at Labella Associates, Rochester, who helped the town write the law.

“It doesn’t necessarily follow, though, that just because all the conditions are met that a permit will be issued,” he said. “They still have to go through an environmental quality review.”

“We are being pro-active,” said Mr. Putman, who said development of wind turbines in the town has not begun, and no one, to his knowledge, has been approached by the industry.

After Tuesday’s meeting, the law may be voted upon at the Sept. 11 Town Board meeting at 7:00 p.m.

The wind energy law can be reviewed on the Town of Morristown’s website.