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Parishville town officials voted down a one-year moratorium for the debated 40-turbine North Ridge Wind Farm following an intense meeting March 10.
And earlier in the week, Avangrid Renewables unveiled its preliminary layout of the project
More than 100 residents turned out for the presentation by AvangridMarch 7 at the Hopkinton Town Hall which included maps and visual simulati on from certain areas in the towns of Parishville and Hopkinton.
Three days later, Parishville town officials met to discuss the possibility of a one-year moratorium. Even though it appeared most of those in attendance were against the wind towers and supported a moratorium, the town council unanimously voted against it.
Avangrid plans to erect 40 wind towers that are about 500 feet high on land in Hopkinton and Parishville.
“The audience was all against it (wind towers),” District 7 County Legislator for Rick Perkins said. His district includes the towns of Hopkinton, Parishville, Colton, Pierrepont, Clare and Piercefield.
The moratorium would have given more time for studies to be completed and information to be collected.
“I agree with what the town board voted for,” Perkins said. Perkins said that there would still be time to vote on a moratorium in the future.
“This is a long process – we just need to keep collecting information,” Perkins said.
Avangrid Renewables spokesperson Paul N. Copleman said he was pleased with the turnout at his firm’s presentation on March 7. “I appreciate the engagement from folks, there were lots of great questions and we were here to do our best to educate and explain the process on the positive long-term effects this will have on the community,” he said.
Copleman said he heard from supporters, those who were curious and some who are against it the proposal for 40 wind towers about 500 feet tall.
“We are well aware that there is a diversity of opinions,” Copleman said. Avangrid unveiled its preliminary layout of the project with maps and visual simulation from certain areas in the towns of Parishville and Hopkinton.
He said the company was “looking to facilitate information from people.”
The company has been running tests related to the environment, wind power, and the ability to interconnect with the energy grid. Avangrid erected a meteorologist test tower on NYS County Route 56 to run wind measurement studies in the area.
“This is a long process,” Copleman said. “We are well aware that there is a diversity of opinions.”
Copleman said he heard from supporters, those who were curious and some who are against it.
“It is our job to explain the benefits to the community,” he said. Copleman said benefits include creating jobs and providing revenue for landowners and the rest of the community. Based on projects in the past Copleman believes the wind towers would lead to six permanent jobs and about 125 construction jobs likely lasting 12 to 18 months. The permanent jobs would be technician jobs. Copleman says revenue for landowners and farmers could be $500, 000 and around $750, 000 for the community.
“The community can spend it as they see fit,” Copleman said. “In the past communities have spent it on cutting taxes, or upgrades to schools and infrastructure.”
Avangrid officials have stated in the past that they would likely ask the two towns, the Parishville-Hopkinton School District, and St. Lawrence County to allow the company to make payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs. If so, each of those entities will have to decide, one by one, if they will grant those tax breaks.
If the project does happen, construction could happen as soon as 2019.
“A timeline is hard to project – there is a long ways to go,” Copleman said. Copleman said the company would likely hold similar meetings in the future as more information becomes available. Perkins, who is remaining neutral on the wind towers, says it would be near the end of the year of even early next year before an application from Avangrid would be filed, should things move forward.
“We need to keep collecting info and make a sound judgment,” Perkins said.
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