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December decisions

HANOVER – The Ball Hill Wind Energy Project is one step closer to becoming reality after Tuesday’s special meeting of the Hanover Town Board, during which council members narrowly passed a resolution that would effectively advance the plan.

Supervisor Todd Johnson stated that a decision had to be made regarding the proposed project, and that the board needed to vote on a “resolution adopting the statement of findings for the Ball Hill Wind (Energy) Project, adopting a local law increasing the maximum height of wind turbines, and a local law creating a wind overlay zoning district, and approving the Ball Hill Wind Energy LLC amended application for a special use permit.”

Board members also had to vote on a resolution to approve the host community agreement for the project.

Johnson then read a memo from the town of Hanover Planning Board, which recommended that officials accept the project’s particulars as they were presented.

Board comments, which were made before the vote, showed that the board was split.

Councilman Kevin O’Con-nell began.

“This is not a decision that is being taken lightly,” he said. “There was a lot of discussion and time put into making the decision for this resolution to adopt the Ball Hill Wind turbine project. We understand that there (are) people for and against this project. Hopefully we’re going to come up with a solution that satisfies as many people as possible, while understanding that we cannot possibly make things right for everybody. There are two sides to every issue, and a lot of times they’re not something that can be brought together just in a town board decision. It’s not something that was taken lightly.”

Next in line was board member Louis Pelletter, who simply said “No comment.”

Councilman Bernard Feldmann Jr. was similarly laconic, remarking that he had “nothing further.”

However, Councilman Wayne Ashley did have a comment.

“Let’s just say I’m not happy with this whole thing,” he stated. “I’ve been told that because it’s a zoning issue, that the vote has got to be based on the overall thing, and not what the people who voted me here want done. And I find that totally unfair. Let’s just say I’m not happy; that’s all.”

Johnson thanked the board members, then asked for a motion, which O’Connell voiced.

“I will move that we adopt – we need to bring this matter to a vote,” he said.

Feldmann seconded the motion, and votes were cast. O’Connell and Feldmann voted yes, while Pelletter and Ashley voted no. Johnson was the tie breaker; he voted yes, and so the resolution was passed.

Representatives from Renewable Energy Systems, the company handling the project, were in attendance at the meeting, including Mark Lyons, the senior manager of Project Development. Lyons told the OBSERVER that the next step for the project is to find a purchaser for the energy that will be created by the wind turbines, and after that, construction will begin.

In other business, Local Law 2 of 2016 was repealed, which had given the town the ability to override the tax cap with the 2017 budget. It was not necessary to do so, as the budget came in under the tax cap.

Hanover officials also said they are doing everything they can to solidify plans for special districts in what is now the village of Forestville, which will dissolve Dec. 31, with public hearings planned for the near future.

The Hanover Town Board will meet again Dec. 29 at 6:30 p.m. for a workshop at town hall, with a meeting to follow.