Several hundred residents turned out Wednesday at Barker Fire Hall to hear representatives from the New York State Public Service Commission explain the Article 10 Siting Board as it relates to a proposed wind farm along the shores of Lake Ontario.
Apex Clean Energy is the company exploring the possibility of constructing a wind farm in the towns of Somerset in Niagara County and Yates in Orleans County. The project, called Lighthouse Wind, calls for 60 to 70 wind turbines.
The project first started in Somerset last summer, said Yates Supervisor John Belson.
“Then they saw there was a lot of open land between County Line and Route 63 in the town of Yates,” Belson said. “We’ve met with them, but there has been no formal proposal yet.”
Wednesday’s meeting took place in two sessions, one at 4:30 p.m. and one at 6:30 p.m.
Article 10 essentially means the state has control over the project and can waive any local laws if they are deemed to be too restrictive.
Andy Davis with the New York State Department of Public Service explained the Siting Board is made up of five people appointed by the governor and two local residents from the area in question.
Kathleen Davis lives along the Lake Ontario shore in Yates and is a founding member of SaveOntarioShores. She was concerned with the fact local law says a structure may not be more than 420 feet tall, yet the wind turbines are 580 feet. Under Article 10, the Siting Board could overrule the 420-foot law, she said.
“That’s really scary,” Evans said. “I don’t care about lower taxes. Our quality of life is not for sale.”
Belson said the town hasn’t made any decision one way or another about allowing wind turbines.
“One thing for sure is some are for it and some are against it, and there’s no changing any of their minds,” he said.
Residents at the 6:30 p.m. meeting were upset when the meeting was cut short at 7:10 p.m. by a representative from Apex, saying the hall had been rented only until 7 p.m. and they had to get out. His comment was met by shouts of “Thanks for nothing.”
Residents who wish to make comments or ask questions about the Lighthouse Wind Project may write the Secretary of the Siting Board, Hon. Kathleen Burgess, NYS Siting Board, 3 Empire Plaza, Albany, 12223-1350; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or call 1 (800) 355-2120.
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