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Joint Zoning Board of Appeals sets public hearings on erection of towers  

Credit:  By ELAINE M. AVALLONE | JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS | PUBLISHED: SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2015 | www.mpcourier.com ~~

CARTHAGE – The Cooperative Zoning Board of Appeals will have three public hearings during the meeting to be held starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the town of Champion board room, 10 N. Broad St.

OWN Energy is seeking an area variance for a transmission line through the town of Champion from the Copenhagen Wind Farm in Denmark to connect to a transfer station to be built in the town of Rutland.

The energy company also is asking for an interpretation of the law regarding the board’s determination that the project be viewed as an essential facility rather than public utilities. If this determination moves forward, James A. Muscato II of Young/Sommer LLC Attorneys at Law of Albany, on behalf of OWN Energy, said it will be asking for a variance for the height of the transmission line poles.

Mr. Muscato said the line runs for 4 miles in the town of Champion and affects 12 property owners. During the June 3 meeting, the joint ZBA board reviewed the mapping for the project and advised the representatives of OWN Energy that a separate application was required for each parcel. It also said authorization from each property owner was needed to allow the power company to act on the owner’s behalf in this matter. According to Mr. Muscato, the transmission and access easement agreement with the landowners gave that authorization.

The second public hearing concerns an area variance for a small wind tower on the Galen Gockley property on Pennock Road.

According to Ryan Storke of CEC Energy of Cazenovia, who represented Mr. Gockley at the June meeting, the tower needs to be taller than allowable by the zoning regulations for maximum energy production.

The proposed tower would have a height of 153.5 feet but the law allows for only 100 feet including the rotor radius.

“The tower is built in 20-foot sections,” he said. “Towers less than 120 feet have a 30 percent decrease in the annual energy level.”

Mr. Storke informed the board the energy produced would be used on the active farming operation. ZBA Chairwoman Tina V. Kight said a letter from Fort Drum planner Franz Phillippe said there was no encroachment caused by the tower on the air path to the base airport. When asked if the tower would be lit, Mr. Storke said a decision from the Federal Aviation Administration is pending, but normally lighting on towers less than 200 feet is not mandatory.

In setting the public hearing on the matter, the board chairwoman requested a letter from Mr. Gockley authorizing the representative to act on his behalf.

The other public hearing concerns an area variance for a proposed cell tower on Bach Road for Verizon Wireless.

Setback for the proposed 199-foot tower is insufficient by 24 feet on the north side. Under the zoning law, the minimum allowed setback is the height of the tower, including any antennae, plus 30 feet.

According to Jessica Vigars of Young/Sommer, representing Verizon, the tower is needed since there is a gap in cellphone service in the hamlet of Champion, along Pleasant Lake and in parts of Rutland. She said the height of the tower is needed to communicate with neighboring towers without interference from trees. The land leased for the tower is on an operating dairy farm. The location is suitable for co-locating with additional towers.

According to the ZBA chairwoman, Fort Drum has no encroachment issues with the proposed tower.

Source:  By ELAINE M. AVALLONE | JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS | PUBLISHED: SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2015 | www.mpcourier.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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