HOPKINTON – Throughout the towns of Hopkinton and Parishville are yard signs – some bright yellow with stark black lettering and others, a contrasting blue and green.
The yellow signs say “No Wind Turbines” in capital letters. The blue and green signs say “Yes to Wind Power.”
“And I thought election season was over,” said Paul N. Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid Renewables, the company proposing the North Ridge Wind Farm project.
Several of both versions of the yard signs are sprinkled throughout the area that will be impacted. In some cases, the opposing signs are in neighboring yards – sometimes, they’re just within a few feet of each other.
Avangrid Renewables is still in the early stages of developing the North Ridge Wind Farm and is hoping to install as many as 40 wind turbines up to 500 feet tall within the next few years.
As part of their early-stage development, representatives from the company hosted an informal informational session Tuesday afternoon at Hopkinton Town Hall. The session was much different than the sit-down meeting the company hosted in the fall where more than 100 residents of the area attended. This time, the company individually fielded questions from about 50 come-and-go attendees within a two-hour time slot.
“We’re moving the process along with the community,” Mr. Copleman said. “We’re explaining the long-term benefits locally for jobs, schools and the towns.”
The wind farm will create about six permanent, full-time jobs and about 125 temporary jobs during construction, according to a fact sheet handed out at the event.
The meeting provided other information on the project as well, including the required environmental and archeological studies that have been completed and a timeline of the project up until 2020, when construction is expected to begin.
By September, Avangrid Renewables had already signed leases with 56 landowners – altogether owning 8,000 acres of land – for the purpose of completing the studies.
“There’s this idea that there’s not much we can do,” said Morgan J. Newtown, Winthrop, who is against the project. “I have anxieties about it. This affects all of us and our lifestyles, not just the people who are leasing land to them.”
Mrs. Newtown and her husband John J. Newtown said they’re worried about the health of their children, who are ages 6 and 3.
“The turbines will be way too close to everybody,” Mr. Newtown said. “(The turbines) will block out the sun. It will really affect us.”
Richard Ketterer, who lives in Albany but owns land in Parishville within the project’s boundaries, drove from Albany to Hopkinton Tuesday to let Avangrid Renewables representatives know he’s in support of the project. Mr. Ketterer said the project will help bring money to the area.
“There’s nothing left here. This place is dying in the woods,” Mr. Ketterer said. “I think it provides a lot of incentives for the area. If people can get past the visual effects, I think it would be good. I’m hoping for the best.”
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