- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Wind turbines denied in Hamburg

First he had the approval for two windmills at his Hamburg reindeer farm, then he didn’t.

Mike Jablonski of Lakeview Road was disappointed and upset Tuesday night when the town Zoning Board of Appeals denied special permits that would have allowed him to erect two wind turbines at his farm. Those are the same permits that the Zoning Board had already approved on a 4-3 vote in May.

But after that vote in the spring the Town Board enacted a residential wind turbine law setting out regulations for the “wind energy conversion systems” July 13. Some thought the Zoning Board should have waited to act until the new law came out, since members knew it was in the works.

But after he was approved, Jablonski got a notice that the Zoning Board would have a rehearing on his request.

He also was served papers in a legal action challenging the board’s granting of the permits. Kurt Allen, supervising code enforcement officer, challenged the board action in State Supreme Court and named Jablonski as a respondent.

“I’ve never been more harassed,” Jablonski said. “He’s definitely making us jump all over on this.”

The Zoning Board action Tuesday night essentially kills the lawsuit, and it sends Jablonski to the Planning Board to seek approval of his turbines.

Zoning Board Chairman Brad Rybczynski said denying the permits was not his first choice, but it disengages Jablonski’s request for the wind turbines from the lawsuit. He said the board discussed, in a brief executive session with its attorney, how it could best serve everyone’s needs. Allen said a rehearing was necessary because not all of the environmental forms had been submitted.

“It’s not my favorite,” Rybczynski said of denying the permits. “It is the most practical way to proceed.”

He said Jablonski can meet with Allen and get a list of steps he needs to take to seek approval from the Planning Board.

“That is about as clean a way I could use and cause you the fewest amount of headaches,” he said.

Rybczynski said if the board had approved the permits Tuesday, the wind turbines would not go in for weeks because the action would be heard in court. It was scheduled for a first court appearance Sept. 17.

Under the new law, the Planning Board must approve or disapprove of wind turbines. It appears that Jablonski could get approval under the new law, but it provides for just one wind turbine per property. He then would have to go back to the Zoning Board to ask for a variance for the second one.

State and federal tax incentives make it attractive to erect the wind turbines, but Jablonski would need two to produce enough electricity for his farm. He said he could save 60 to 70 percent on his electric bills.

Rybczynski suggested Jablonski’s application could get on the Planning Board’s September agenda.

“You deserve better. I think you deserve better than we’re offering, but it’s the best I can do,” Rybczynski said.

Jablonski said he has been in touch with representatives of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, which governs agriculture and helps enforce state laws allowing farm operations.

“These windmills will go in,” Jablonski said.