Hopkinton town supervisor requests police at public hearing for wind law; wind opponent kicked out of meeting for being ‘disruptive’
HOPKINTON – A local man was kicked out of a public hearing Monday night concerning the Local Law No. 4 – Wind Facilities which covers setbacks, sound limits and an overlay zone for a proposed wind tower farm.
The meeting divisive drew a crowd of about 70 people who spoke out for or against the controversial wind towers. Avangrid’s North Ridge Wind Farm calls for about 40 wind towers to be built in Hopkinton and Parishville.
Jeff Snell, who spoke during the public comment period, was asked to leave by Hopkinton Town Supervisor Susan Wood.
“He was being disruptive,” Wood said in regards as to why Snell was asked to exit the meeting.
Wood said she warned Snell a couple times before asking him to leave on the third warning for not allowing pro-wind residents to speak without interruption.
“This is not the first time,” Wood said about Snell being disruptive at public meetings.
A state trooper was at the meeting at the request of Wood. She said after seeing some comments made on Facebook she had “concern” over the meeting.
“There’s always been a concern – but nothing this large,” Wood said.
The state trooper was asked to escort Snell out the building; he left without further incident.
“He left the town hall but did not leave the premises,” Wood said. She said Snell is welcome at any future meetings as long as he is not disruptive.
“He (Snell) came back in (the town hall) for the regular part of our meeting and there were no issues,” Wood said.
The majority or residents who spoke were not in favor of the 500-foot towers coming to their town. Pro-wind residents made up about 10-20 percent of the speakers at the meeting.
Anti-wind residents continued to push for increased setbacks and sound limits and to overturn extending the turbines into the wind overlay zone south of SH 72.
The setbacks for wind towers are currently 2,500 feet from the property line of a non-participating landowner and the foundation of a participating landowner. The sound limit of 40 dBA would be 24 hours per day. The overlay zone expansion could see towers be placed much closer to the Adirondack Park than some residents and environmental agencies are comfortable with.
Supporters of wind farms cite the need to create green energy, tax savings for residents and the impact it could have on the local economy and school.
Town council members will review notes made the town supervisor and clerk and discuss the law further.
When asked how town council members are expected to make decisions for the town, Wood said, “I would hope they are doing what is best for the town (not voting purely on personal opinion).
“Some times what we feel is best for the town – people may not agree with – no matter what you do there will be people upset,” Wood said.
The board next meets Sept. 18 and could take action at the meeting.
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