BURKE – After a contentious public hearing last week, the Town Board voted Tuesday to adopt a local law establishing regulations for the development of wind turbines in the town.
The law, which is patterned on a similar measure in the neighboring town of Chateaugay, is intended to protect Burke residents in the event a developer approaches the town with plans to establish a wind farm in the community, said Supervisor David Vincent. “Chateaugay has been very successful and this is my opinion,” Vincent said.
Chateaugay is the host community to a wind farm established by Noble Environmental Power and is the proposed site of a wind farm proposed by EDP Renewables. There are currently no announced plans for a wind farm in Burke.
The law establishes regulations governing the location of wind turbines and creates required setbacks from homes, businesses and roads.
Prior to the vote, Vincent asked the members of the board to think of what they heard last week during the hearing, and he asked each member to comment on the statements made by the residents.
Town Councilman Arnold Lobdell mentioned every speaker that presented an opinion at last week’s meeting. He noted that Chad and Rose Garrow of Churubusco “seem to have a lot of issues” with wind turbines. The Garrows claim that they have suffered various health problems since the towers were built near their home.
Lobdell also cited turbine opponent Scott Barrett, who told the board he does not want them in the community and said there are already enough in the area. However, he also noted that several people spoke in favor of the towers.
Councilman Jim Otis stated that he knew about turbines and that he had been involved with them. He spoke of the surrounding towns like Chateaugay, Churubusco and Ellenburg that have them and stated “that they are harmless.” He also noted that “these towns are enjoying a nice revenue. The money is needed to sustain these communities.” He also went on to say that the law works well in Chateaugay.
Councilman Timothy Crippen stated that the Town Board must do what is best for the town as a whole.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the local law.
Town officials had been working on local wind tower regulations on and off for 15 years.
Councilman William Wood left the meeting before the wind tower discussion since he has a conflict of interest because of his stated desire to have wind towers on his property. Wood also did not take part in the public hearing last week and he sat with the residents and listened to the other residents without comment.
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