HOPKINTON – The town Wind Advisory Board meets Monday, Oct. 24 to discuss changes in local law regarding wind power development.
They will meet at 7 p.m. in the town office, 7 Church St. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
The topic that night that is expected to draw the most comment will be “setbacks,” or how far wind power towers will have to be from houses and roads, for example.
The volunteer board has been charged by the Town Council with proposing changes to town law to protect the town against egregious actions by the state or a developer of wind power, according to Wind Advisory Board Chair Mary Jane Toomey.
Of major concern is Article 10 of state Public Service Law.
Article 10 was adopted in 2011 after the Town of Hammond reacted to proposed wind power development in the town by developing local law, supported 9 to 1 by members of the town’s Wind Committee and 3 to 0 by the town board, to restrict the placement of wind power generators.
The state’s enactment of the 2011 Power NY Act and its Article 10 severely limited a town’s ability to have input into decisions regarding virtually any power project through a “unified proceeding instead of requiring a developer or owner of such a facility to apply for numerous state and local permits,” according to the state Department of Public Service web site.
When the Hopkinton committee has completed recommendations for changes to the town law, “it will be presented to the town board, and the lawyer will review it,” said Toomey.
The emphasis, Toomey said, is “to make sure the town is protected” if the North Ridge Wind Project proposed by Atlantic Wind continues forward.
The plan as proposed would feature wind generators atop towers 350 to 500 feet tall in fields between State Routes 11B and 72 in Hopkinton and Parishville.
The attractions of the project are generation of renewable power and payment to land owners for use of their property for the towers, roads and other structures.
The main drawbacks appear to be concerns over the roar of the huge blades, the life of the towers and generators and what will happen to them when they age, and the possibility of the generating companies winning tax breaks, lowering or eliminating their property tax payments to local government.
The changes that the Wind Advisory Board is proposing are on the town’s web site at http://www.townofhopkinton.com/wind-advisory-board.html.
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