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Apex files Lighthouse Wind plans

YATES – After holding its cards close to the vest for more than a year, Apex Clean Energy has put them all on the table.

The Virginia-based company, through its subsidiary Lighthouse Wind, on Monday formally filed its preliminary scoping statement to the state’s Public Service Commission for a proposed 201-megawatt wind turbine network in Yates and Somerset.

Doing so starts both the clock for public comments on the PSS and the filing of an Article X application for the project – which will be in no less than three months.

The town of Yates received an “inch-and-a-half thick” binder with the filed documents Monday. Supervisor John Belson said it’s available to view at the town hall, 8 S. Main St.

The entire package, and responses from stakeholders, can be viewed at http://www.tinyurl.com/yateswind.

Belson said the town has not yet received a response from the state on town proposals to extend the public comment period, currently set to expire on Dec. 23 – an extension request by Apex – into early 2016.

“We haven’t heard back, and I don’t expect them to until after the holiday,” Belson said.

In a filing by attorney Daniel Spitzer on behalf of Yates, a 21-day extension of the public comment period, to at least Jan. 6, has been requested.

“It is respectfully submitted that this request for a 21-day extension is reasonable, will not delay these proceedings, nor result in prejudice to any party,” Spitzer said. “Conversely, without the extension, the Town’s ability to participate at this stage of the proceeding would be hindered.”

Jim Simon, elected this month to succeed Belson as town supervisor, has also requested an extension, seeking a 90-day comment period to allow newly-elected town officials and citizens time to consult experts and determine whether the “proposed studies and methodologies are adequate and exhaustive.”

Simon also requested the nomination for the ad-hoc board be postponed until after the new town council is seated in January.

Documents filed by the state’s Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment Wednesday informed Belson and Orleans County Chief Administrative Officer Chuck Nesbitt that they have 15 days to nominate four candidates for ad-hoc positions on the siting board.

Those candidates, and nominees of the town of Somerset and Niagara County, would be selected for two spots on the siting board, which would also have appointments by state lawmakers.

The siting board would review and vote on the Lighthouse Wind proposal, which via Article X supersedes town planning and zoning review.