LAFARGEVILLE – The Orleans Town Council introduced a law on Wednesday that would enact a six-month moratorium on all wind-related applications, including for wind measurement towers.
The move comes as Iberdrola Renewables is planning a wind project that would be mainly in Clayton and expected to incorporate the towns of Orleans, Lyme and Brownville. The developer has private land leases in all four towns.
The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed law at its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. on April 14. The proposal could be considered for final approval in May.
Orleans Supervisor Kevin R. Rarick said the moratorium would provide the board with much-needed time to review and amend its wind law and zoning ordinance. Orleans approved a local wind law in 2007 and amended its zoning ordinance in 2011 to create a wind overlay district in the southwest portion of the town.
“We just want to make sure everything is up to code and be prepared for taller wind turbines,” Mr. Rarick said, adding that he believes other towns affected by Iberdrola’s project should also approve moratoriums. He said the board plans to reach out to other towns, advising them to consider approving consistent wind regulations.
“I think it would hold more juice if the towns got together and had a general zoning law that is pretty much uniform across the board,” he said. “If five towns all have the same basic zoning law with height restrictions and setbacks, how can someone take you to court and say it’s unreasonable?”
The moratorium proposed by the board comes after Iberdrola submitted an application earlier this month to put up a test tower in the town’s wind overlay district, where they are a permitted use. The application was reviewed for the first time on March 15 by the town Planning Board, which will further review the application during its meeting at 7 p.m. April 26.
The developer has already submitted applications to the Clayton joint village and town Planning Board to put up three test towers in the town’s wind overlay district. Planning Board members reviewed applications for two towers on March 3, but the developer recently submitted an application for a third tower that would be located at the intersection of Route 12 and Howe Road in the overlay district, according to town Supervisor David Storandt Jr. The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the applications at 7 p.m. on April 7.
The Clayton Town Council, meanwhile, has proposed a law that would repeal the town’s current wind laws and impose an outright ban on industrial turbines and test towers. Several people who spoke during a public hearing on Wednesday advised the board to instead pass a stronger wind law to prevent the machines, avoiding the perceived risk of having the ban overturned during a state-led Article 10 review of Iberdrola’s project.
Mr. Storandt did not return multiple calls Thursday seeking comment.
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