BARKER – The Somerset town planning board approved two temporary meteorological towers for Apex Wind Energy this week, with some conditions.
The planning board is requiring fencing around the towers, to prevent injuries to snowmobilers, and night vision-compatible lights on the towers to avoid interference with the night vision that Mercy Flight crews use, town supervisor Dan Engert said on Friday.
The planning board also wants the developer of the towers to report on them, semi-annually and in person.
Apex submitted its plans for the towers, which are intended to collect area weather data, in January of 2016. The planning board hosted a public hearing on the plans in August and, several months later, ruled the project is a “Type 1 action” under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, meaning Apex would have to complete a full-length environmental impact statement on the towers before the board decided whether to recommend a special use permit.
Apex filed suit against the planning board in November, asserting that the met towers are temporary and don’t require full-length environmental review. Last month, a Niagara County Supreme Court justice agreed and ordered the planning board to vote on Apex’s request for approval of the met towers.
The towers will be 197 feet tall and less than 1 foot in diameter. They will be held in place with guy wires, on private property along Lake Road and West Somerset Road.
“After well over a year of working on these applications in full cooperation with the landowners who will host these towers in Somerset, we’re pleased to have a final decision,” Apex spokeswoman Cat Strumlauf said in a written statement. “We look forward to putting up the met towers and gathering additional meteorological data.”
Apex is looking at filing its application for “Lighthouse Wind,” a commercial/industrial wind farm spread over Somerset and neighboring Yates, with the state Public Service Commission in late 2017, according to Strumlauf.
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