HOPKINTON – The Hopkinton Wind Advisory Board has approved the sound decibel limit and setbacks for the siting of contested 500-foot wind towers proposed in Hopkinton and Parishville.
The advisory board decided on setting a 24-hour sound decibel limit for the noise the wind towers can produce. The board settled on 40 decibels for day and night.
The vote was approved 3-2, according to Hopkinton Town Supervisor Susan Wood. Board members who voted in favor were Jody Wenzel, Mary Jane Niles and Richard Powers. Those opposed were Steve Hopkins and John Niles.
Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, is heading the North Ridge Wind Farm, which calls for about 40 wind towers to be built on land in Hopkinton and Parishville.
“I think there was disappointment on both sides,” Wood said.
Previously, Jody Wenzel, vice chairman of the Hopkinton Wind Advisory Board said they went with the suggestion from an acoustic noise expert and that they wanted to set a limit that was simple.
There had been talks, and some suggestions in the community, to enact separate sound limits from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., as the Town of Parishville did. Parishville opted for two 12-hour periods ranging from 35 to 45 decibels.
Wenzel had also previously stated the decision was made based on of what other wind farms had enacted for laws.
Setbacks were approved to be five times the height of a tower. Turbines are expected to be 500 feet high, so that would make the setbacks 2,500 feet from the property line of non-participating landowners and the same distance from a participating landowners foundation line.
“Members of the concerned citizens group wanted sound decibels lower and setbacks further and the prop-wind supporters wanted just the opposite,” Wood said.
The law will now be given to the St. Lawrence County Planning Board for recommendations. Following those recommendations the Town of Hopkinton will look to vote on the law.
The Hopkinton Town Board will be powerless to override the St. Lawrence County Planning Board should it make a recommendation on the proposal to not expand the wind overlay zone.
That’s because two members of the council, Gilbert Sochia and Greg Crump, continue to abstain from all wind related issues coming before the governing body.
An hour of public comment was held prior to the vote where community members expressed their interest or disinterest in the wind farm.
The Hopkinton Town Board could discuss and vote on the law at their next meeting June 19.
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