YATES – Members of the public packed the Yates Town Hall on Monday night to give their input on the new amendment to the Wind Energy Facilities Law.
The proposed changes focus on three areas:
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends no wind turbines within three miles of the Lake Ontario shoreline for the Town of Yates in order to avoid possible severe impact on avian flyways and habitat.
• The State of Vermont Public Service Board recommends 42 dBA daytime and 39 dBA nighttime noise limits at residential receivers. This is stricter than Yates current noise limits.
• Numerous towns, counties, states and countries have determined that increased setbacks from residences, property lines, villages, sensitive areas and simialar locations are critical steps governments should take to mitigate the negative effects of industrial wind turbines.
Overall, there was overwhelming support for the proposed amendments, with residents asking the town to do even further research and add more stringent guidelines.
“Many people who live near industrial wind projects are reporting health issues prior to the operation of the project. How infrasound affects human is just now beginning to be studied and understood,” said Jim Bansbach, adding he is worried about living year round to an industrial wind project.
But the support wasn’t 100 percent.
Howard Pierce, of Lyndonville said the first wind ordinance written by the town was in 2008 in six months. He said one of the first things Jim Simon did as supervisor in 2016 was to ask for a committee to rewrite the wind law.
As a constituent, Pierce said he had several questions: what are the justifications of the setbacks; who wrote the new law or is Yates simply copying Somerset; did the town’s special attorney see the new law; and was the new law submitted the town and county planning board?
“I think a law of this magnitude should be done by committee, not a chosen,” he said. “If this board thinks the law of 2016 needs to be amended, then I suggest you appoint a committee and get started. I would hope a committee from this board would use scientific information that hasn’t been cherry picked to produce new law that isn’t unduly burdensome.”
No action was taken after the public hearing was closed. Simon said the process is ongoing and the board did have its attorney and planning board review it. It will be going to the county planning board at the end of the month.
While comments for public record are closed, the public can still submit their comments and concerns to the town board,.
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