LAFARGEVILE – The Orleans Town Council will take a six-month break to decide how to approach the Horse Creek wind project being planned by Iberdrola Renewables.
After listening to a handful of people speak during a public hearing Thursday night, including a representative from the developer, the board unanimously approved a six-month moratorium on all wind-related applications. That will mean that Iberdrola’s application for a wind measurement tower in the town’s wind overlay district will be put on hold.
The move comes as Iberdrola 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 said it plans to soon start the pre-application process for a state-required Article 10 review of its still-undefined project.
Orleans Supervisor Kevin R. Rarick said on Friday that the town will use the moratorium to consider strengthening 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’ll take a look at the law that was done in 2011 and will make sure it’s up to speed,” Mr. Rarick said, adding that turbine technology has evolved since that time. “We’ll look at language about turbine height and make sure everything is right with the setbacks … In six months we better have a plan and be ready to roll it out.”
Jeffrey Reinkemeyer, director of renewable development for Iberdrola, argued during the hearing that the moratorium was unwarranted.
The Clayton Town Council is also considering the approval of a six-month moratorium on wind-related applications. It will consider the matter during a public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Clayton Opera House.
Mr. Rarick said board members from Orleans and Clayton are expected to share ideas as they decide on approaches to prevent industrial wind turbines. It’s possible that other towns in the Thousand Islands region might also consider strengthening their wind regulations.
“What I think will happen is each individual town will kind of stick to themselves,” he said, “but I think we’ll all converse.”
Iberdrola has submitted applications to the Clayton joint village and town Planning Board to put up three wind measurement towers in the town’s wind overlay district. The Planning Board took no action on the applications at its April 7 meeting.
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