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Pembroke Planning Board weighs Econo Lodge turbine

CORFU – The Town of Pembroke is considering approval of a permit for a 159-foot-tall wind turbine to provide the Darien Lake Econo Lodge with electricity.

Planning Board members Wednesday night referred the permit application to the Town Board. Along with the special use permit application, the town has to decide whether to approve a zoning law change to allow wind turbines in an interchange district.

Town Building Inspector Tom Schneider said the application and request to change the zoning law will also go to the Genesee County Planning Board. The County Planning Board meeting will be Feb. 8.

“Interchange is just one of our zoning districts,” Schneider said Thursday. “It’s a little less restrictive than commercial. We call it interchange because it’s right at the interchange (near State Route 77 and the Thruway). It’s where the town would like to see the most development.

“We have a non-commercial wind law,” he said. “It would be classified as a non-commercial wind-turbine. It offsets the electricity used on the site. That’s what makes it non-commercial. They’re also not selling power back to the grid.”

Schneider said if the County Planning Board does not approve the permit application, the Town Board has the final say and can override the county.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Planning Board member Greg Kuras asked whether anyone thought a light should be put on the turbine.

Padma Kasthurirangan, president of Buffalo Renewables Inc. of Niagara Falls, said the turbine would not be tall enough for the Federal Aviation Administration to require a light to be put on it.

“They usually don’t want the light up unless it’s necessary because it’s a distraction to the pilots,” she said.

“We don’t do leases. Our systems are owned by the customers,” she said. “We warrant everything for five years.”

Planning Board Chairman Jim Uebelhoer said, “I think it’s a plus – renewable energy. Sooner or later, something’s got to be done.”

Kasthurirangan was asked whether there would be a fence around the wind turbine in order to prevent the public from having access to it.

“The tower is a locked tower,” she said. “You would need a key to get inside.”

Among the other items on the Planning Board’s agenda was a public hearing and application by Heather Adams for a special use permit for a “tiny house” trailer to use as a vacation rental. Adams told board members she hopes to have the “tiny house” available for rental from May through November at 9026 Lake Rd.

The board, voting 5-1 with Kuras as the only “no” vote, approved the permit for May 1 to Oct. 31 with stipulations. Stipulations included having Adams provide insurance information.” Schneider also said he would do an inspection before the rental property is open for the season.

There was some discussion about the definition of what the “tiny house” was.

“The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) considers it a travel trailer. It’s registered with the DMV,” Adams said. “If all goes well, (I’ll) apply for another one for next summer.”

Adams said the “tiny house” has a self-composting toilet and that the people who rent the house would be able to dispose of any waste without the need for a sewer system connection.

“It’s self-contained. It seals it (waste) into a container that can be easily disposed of,” she said.

“It will go up on www.tryittiny.com. People can rent … people who are going to Darien Lake and people who want to see what a ‘tiny house’ is like,” Adams added.