The Richfield Town Planning Board is scheduled to convene Monday night for a meeting at which opponents of a proposed wind farm said the panel could decide to issue a permit to the developers of the project.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Monday at Richfield Town Hall, which is located at 18 James St. in Richfield Springs.
In late 2011, the planning board issued a permit to the Monticello Hills wind farm. But that decision was met with a lawsuit filed against the board and ultimately a court decision that nullified the approval due to flawed procedures used by the panel.
A state appellate court, in a recent decision, affirmed the nullification of the first permit.
The board is expected to be equipped with a review of the project by the Otsego County Planning Department. Depending how that agency views the project, the planning board could be required to have a super majority in order to allow the proposed six wind turbines to be erected in the town of Richfield, officials said.
Karen Sullivan, Otsego County’s chief planner, declined to release the review document she issued to town officials. Sullivan explained to The Daily Star that she wanted the local officials to have a chance to see the findings before they were publicized.
Proponents of the project say it will help bring sorely needed jobs to Richfield and enlist the community in the national effort to make the country less dependent on foreign sources of energy. They also say that wind energy is far cleaner than that obtained from the use of fossil fuels.
Opponents have cited environmental concerns and possible hazards from having large turbines near residential areas, as well as potential decommissioning costs if the company goes bankrupt.
Richfield Town Supervisor Fran Enjem has said he believes most town residents oppose the project, while Planning Board member Cynthia Andela said she believes most residents are supportive of having the wind farm sited in Richfield.
The turbines would stand 492-feet high and would be capable of generating enough electricity to power 7,000 homes in New York, according to Ridgeline Energy, the firm behind Monticello Hills.
The developers of the project have created a web site to explain the scope of the project and to promote it – www.monticellohillswind.com
The opponents have their own web site listing the reasons why they are calling for a denial of the permit – www.protectrichfield.com
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