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Wind turbine debate churns in Clarence

CLARENCE, N. Y. – It’s a ‘Right to Farm’ community, but is a wind turbine really a ‘farm machine’.

That’s part of the debate that the Clarence Zoning Board of Appeals might decide at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

The owners of Thompson Brothers Greenhouse on Clarence Center Road spend about a thousand dollars a month in electricity to keep those plants warm. They say if they could build a wind turbine, it would pay for itself in a couple years.

“I think it’s the wave of the future,” Dawn Trippie, who co-owns the greenhouse with her husband Ken Thompson, said.

“Well, I’m the third generation operating this farm, and I see it as a way to go green. Everybody wants to go green.” said Thompson. He was there long before dozens of patio homes were built across Clarence Center Road a few years ago, but some of those homeowners don’t to want to look at a 133 foot wind turbine.

Neighbor Thom Palmer points out that it would be more than twice the size of the 60 foot height limit allowed in the Town of Clarence.

“A hundred and thirty feet. The height of a 12 story office building in the middle of a field. You have a visual impact with the blade turning, you also have a sound impact,” said Palmer.

Last year, the Clarence Zoning Board of Appeals allowed one the same size on Salt Road where there were fewer neighbors.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the board will consider allowing one closer to Clarence Center.

“The Department of Agriculture and Markets has done an investigation and ruled that it is a piece of farm equipment,” says Trippie. “If the Town denies us, they’re being unduly restrictive to my right to farm laws.”