YATES – The Town Board is proposing revisions to the Wind Energy Facilities Law that would ban wind turbines from within 3 miles of the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Town Supervisor James Simon said that follows a recommendation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which sees the 3-mile buffer along the shoreline as an important flyway for birds.
Yates held a public hearing on Monday on the proposed changes to its law. The current law in Yates calls for minimum setbacks from the lake of 1,800 feet or 4.5 times the turbine height.
Somerset also is proposing a 3-mile buffer from the shoreline. Apex Clean Energy has proposed siting about 50-60 turbines that would be up to 600 feet high in the two towns.
Other changes in the law include:
- Reducing the allowable noise decibels to “residential receivers” from 45 during the day (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.) to 42, and from 40 at nighttime to 39 decibels.
- The current setbacks from non-participating property lines is a minimum of 3 times the turbine height for land with houses or buildings, and 4.5 times the turbine height for vacant land. The proposed change increases the minimum setback to a half-mile (2,640 feet) or 6 times the turbine height, whichever is greater.
- The setback from roads and public right-of-ways is a minimum of 1,800 feet or 3 times the height of a turbine. Yates is proposing to increase that to a half-mile or 6 times the turbine height.
- The setback from the boundary of the Village of Lyndonville is currently 1,800 feet or 4.5 times a turbine height. Yates wants to increase that setback to a minimum of 1 mile.
- The setback from the boundaries from other towns is currently 1,800 feet or 3 times a turbine’s height. Yates is proposing a half-mile setback or 6 times a turbine’s height, whichever is greater.
- The setback from residences is currently 1,800 feet or 4.5 times a turbine height. Yates is proposing to increase that to a half-mile or 6 times a turbine’s height.
- In addition, Yates is now proposing setbacks of 1 mile from schools, churches, and cemeteries. The town law currently doesn’t include setbacks for those sites.
The proposed changes go to the Orleans County Planning Board for review this month on Jan. 25. Simon said the revised law is expected to be voted on by the Town Board in February.
“The Yates Town Board has a deeper understanding of the rural character and local home rule values of our community as a result of our ongoing work in the Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan and the Lake Waterfront Revitalization Program committees,” according to a statement from the Town Board. “There is a growing body of research from reputable agencies, organizations, governments and municipalities which indicates significant risks to the public health, safety and welfare as a result of the increasingly recognized deleterious effects of poorly sited industrial wind turbines on human health, avian and bat habitats and flyways, noise and light pollution, hydrology, property values, prime agricultural land, tourism, scenic views, recreational areas, public gathering places, open spaces and cultural and historical resources.”
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