August 15, 2013
New York

New Hartford approves flood, turbine laws

By SARA TRACEY | Observer-Dispatch | Posted Aug 14, 2013 |

NEW HARTFORD – Two local laws recently discussed at public hearings were approved Wednesday, but not without a little resistance.

* A flood damage prevention law, required by the state’s Department of Conservation.

A few residents were concerned about not being able to see maps where the old flood plains and new flood plains were being drawn up and having public input in those areas.

“I think before the board takes action (on the law), the board needs to make (the maps) public,” said resident Edmund Wiatr.

Several town officials, including town Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski, Attorney Herbert Cully and codes officer Joe Booth, said the maps could not be changed after the public hearing, but passage of the law was essential in securing the ability for residents in those flood plains to get insurance.

The maps, Tyksinski said, were available in his office and in those of the highway superintendent and codes officer.

“We don’t have jurisdiction over the maps,” Cully said, adding that the town was acting on the guidelines of state and federal organizations.

The law passed unanimously.

* Local legislation on wind energy and the potential structure of turbines passed with a 4-1 vote. Tyksinski was the only naysayer, wavering on an amendment made to the law originally posted on the town’s website.

The law, which states that large wind energy facilities could not be constructed within town limits, would allow for structures upward of 85 feet tall on parcels of two acres, and 5-acre plots could get a 20-feet-tall turbine.

According to the draft, only one structure could be put on each parcel.

The controversy came on the back of a recommendation by the town’s Planning Board, which asked that the board allow more than one turbine on land in agriculture districts.

Board member Don Backman recommended that the board amend the law during the meeting to state that landowners in those districts be allowed up to three turbines on their parcel as long as the generated electricity not be sold.

“To change this at the last minute is not appropriate,” Tyksinski said.

The other board members, however, were willing to accept the change to the law.

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