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Town of Madison working on windmill law rewrite, holding meeting June 13

The town of Madison is about halfway through the process of creating a new windmill law.

Analysis of the work of a committee that re-tooled an existing windpower facilities law was conducted in February. Since then, the plan has been reviewed by the town planning board.

Officials say the proposed law represents an attempt to protect the town’s residential areas while permitting development in areas where landowners desire, or do not object to, the siting of large turbines on or near their property.

The proposed law also replaces existing town regulations regarding the placement of wind farms within the town.

A public hearing for the proposed law was held last week, with all comments due to the town by Wednesday, said town planning board chairman Roger Williams.

The plan is now out of the town Planning Board’s hands and has moved on to the Town Board for consideration.

Williams said the next step is for the Town Board to review all the comments received as a result of the public hearing.

Town Supervisor Ron Bono said that at the Thursday, June 13 town board meeting, the only action the board will conduct regarding the proposed law, will be setting a date for a future workshop, or a working meeting where they will discuss the plan in depth. That workshop will be open to the public.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m., and will be held at the town office building, 7358 State Route 20 in Madison. The meeting is open to the public.

Once all comments are reviewed, the town will decide if amendments need to be made to the law and then a final draft will be sent to the county planning department for further review.

Last June, the town of Madison adopted a law enacting a one year moratorium on the issuance of permits for the construction of wind power facilities in the town in order to re-evaluate the town’s existing wind power regulations.

At that time, the town board did not feel that current regulations regarding wind energy adequately protected town residents.

The moratorium runs out at the end of this month, said Williams.

At the time of the moratorium being enacted, on the table was a $110 million, 36-turbine wind farm proposal which would add to the town’s existing 11 turbines. Houston-based EDP Renewable North America would construct the project. The developer has projects in New York, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Washington, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, Indiana and Illinois. EDP officials said they would not apply for a permit until 2014 after the moratorium had expired, with construction slated for 2015.

All documents related to the proposed law have been posted on the town website at townofmadisonny.org