Parishville planners make minor changes to wind tower setback and sound decibel laws; to ask county planning for recommendations
PARISHVILLE – The Town of Parishville Planning Board made minor changes to its local wind law to make turbine setbacks and sound output more restrictive at a Tuesday night meeting.
Planning board chairman Fred Wilhelm says plans still calls for setbacks of wind towers to be five times the height of the wind tower from a the property line of a non-participating landowner. If the towers are 500 feet high, as projected, setbacks would be 2,500 feet. That distance would apply to the foundation of the residence of a participating landowner.
The North Ridge Wind Farm plan calls for about 40 wind towers, about 500 feet high, to be built in Hopkinton and Parishville by Avangrid Renewables.
The local law calls for sound levels to be at .45 decibels or below from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and .35 decibels from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. as measured from a participating landowner’s residence.
Wilhelm said the board listened to a speaker from Maine who discussed wind tower sound levels.
Stephen Ambrose, an acoustical engineer, spoke to the board for about an hour.
“He said the World Health Organization recommends sound decibels not to exceed .45 decibels.,” Wilhelm said. “It was his (Ambrose’s) opinion that sound decibels shouldn’t be over. 35 decibels.”
Wilhelm said any noise over .45 decibels isn’t considered “damaging,” but is more of a nuisance.
“It causes inconveniences such as turning up your TV or having to speak louder during conversations,” he said.
Wilhelm said both pro- and anti-wind residents have expressed their displeasure with the sound decibel limit proposed by the planning board.
“We’ve been asked to make changes and we are getting info from both sides,” he said.
Following the meeting the board made minor changes and will ask the St. Lawrence County Planning Office to unofficially look it over and offer their insight.
Wilhelm said the county planning board “are a sharp bunch and are an asset to St. Lawrence County.”
Once the planning board offers their advice, the draft will be made available for public comment. The Town of Parishville will have final say over the law.
Should the county make recommendations that the town does not wish to accommodate, the board would need a supermajority vote.
Wilhelm said board members have looked over many emails recently, most offering input on the language of the law.
Avangrid filed a Preliminary Scoping Statement (PSS) May 4. The PSS is designed to gather input from the public and interested participants on the scope and methodology of studies to be conducted.
Some of the things it does include are to identify project-specific studies to be conducted to evaluate potential impacts, identify any known stakeholder concerns, identify potential environmental impacts, and identify potential measures to be implemented to avoid or mitigate impacts.
The public can view and comment at http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=16-F-0268
Comments will be accepted through May 25.
Wilhelm says the document says Avangrid is taking into consideration that changes are being made to local wind laws in Parishville.
The Town of Parishville Planning Board will meet June 13, with a tentative meeting set for May 30.
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