ORLEANS – Orleans town councilmen claimed that Atlantic Wind LLC’s project area for its proposed Horse Creek Wind farm expands outside the town’s wind energy facility overlay district, adding to the town board’s list of concerns about the project and its developer.
In a letter he submitted to the state Department of Public Service’s website, Orleans Town Supervisor Kevin C. Rarick said that the developer leased land from property owners outside of the town’s overlay district, which was established in the town’s zoning law through an amendment in 2011. Mr. Rarick said Town Board members hope that the developer will follow the town’s laws.
“Apparently, we have no common sense and the rules don’t apply,” Mr. Rarick said.
According to the town’s zoning ordinance amendment, the overlay district begins at the Orleans and Clayton town border, encompasses the western portion of the town north of Woodard Road and south of Dutch Gap Road and ends at Western side of Crater Street Road. According to the developer’s map, the project area expands past Crater Street Road to the south side of State Route 411 and the West side of Dog Hill Road and County Route 15.
“We’re just trying to keep it on their radar,” Mr. Rarick said. “There’s a lot of people that are looking.”
Town Board members also claimed that the developer’s public outreach efforts were lacking in two letters submitted to the DPS website last Monday.
In the first letter, Town Board members claimed that the developer failed to publicize its Horse Creek Wind Farm open house Sept. 21 at the Depauville Fire Department, leading to a small turnout for both sessions. The Town Board claimed the developer should have purchased advertisement space in local newspapers and notified the affected town boards, town planning boards and town zoning boards. Town Board members also said the date of the open house failed to accommodate seasonal residents who left before the open house.
“The town has raised questions and concerns that the applicant should be considering in continuing its outreach efforts and in defining its project and the scope of studies that will be outlined in the preliminary scoping statement,” said the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, which reviews applications for major electric generating facility applications through the Article 10 Law review process, in a background statement. “All comments and material submitted in this ongoing proceeding are being carefully reviewed and considered.”
Town Board members also expressed concerns about the developer’s chosen location for its local outreach office in Lowville in their second letter.
They said they did not consider the office “to be local” because it is outside Jefferson County, residents would have to drive for more than an hour to visit it and it does not accommodate the town’s Amish residents. In addition to their concerns about the office, Town Board members also asked when the developer would disclose the maximum height for its wind turbines.
“The towns and community members are clearly engaged in this process, and we welcome the input,” said Paul N. Copleman, the communications manager for Avangrid Renewables, the parent company for Atlantic Wind. “We remain engaged in early-stage project siting work, which will inform the continued development of the project proposal. We will respond to these questions and others in the context of the Article 10 process as we move forward.”
Town Board members have been working on minor linguistic revisions to the town’s wind law since August.
Mr. Rarick said he intends to host a special public meeting regarding the law at a later date in order to dedicate more time to address public comments. The Town Board approved its six-month moratorium on applications for wind energy facilities back in April, and Mr. Rarick said it will expire in December.
“I don’t think that it will be a 10-minute deal,” he said.
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