NEW HARTFORD – After the town board voted down wind legislation last July, New Hartford officials are back at the drawing board.
“At the last board meeting, the board felt that we should try and hire an attorney that has this specific expertise, which I don’t have, in dealing with this wind legislation,” New Hartford Town Attorney Herbert Cully said.
A committee was formed to collect information, and they proposed an ordinance, which classified three types of windmills: 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.
The proposal also included criteria for issues such as visual impact, noise, electromagnetic interference, avian impact, and fiscal and economic impact.
After the board voted it down 4-1, they went back to work looking at other legislation, such as the one the town of Litchfield passed last March banning construction of industrial wind turbines. Officials have said that smaller, domestic turbines – no more than 120 feet tall and 50 kilowatts or less – are permitted.
After reading through the legislation, Cully said he advised that another attorney be brought in.
“I was concerned because in looking at the detail, I can’t understand it,” he said. “I’m going to contact a couple attorneys to see if they specialize in this area.”
Cully said he plans on bringing what he finds to the next board meeting March 13.
Town Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski said that while the town hasn’t received any wind turbine construction proposals, officials wanted to be proactive.
“We don’t want large windmill farms popping up close to residential neighborhoods,” he said.
A lawsuit was filed late last year by 60 Middleville, Fairfield and Norway residents against the entities responsible for construction of the Hardscrabble Wind Farm.
Among the complaints, the lawsuit asserts that those responsible for the construction of the wind farm were negligent in assessing the site to determine whether it was properly suited for the project, and that the 450-foot turbines are a public and private nuisance.
Tyksinski said the town plans to have a public hearing on a potential wind ordinance March 27.
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