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Hopkinton Town Board does not need to revise wind law before developer files application

HOPKINTON – Following some incorrect information, the Hopkinton Town Board learned that it does not have to revise its wind law before Avangrid Renewables files its application for a wind farm.

In speaking with legal representative with the state Public Service Commission, Paul Agresta, Hopkinton Town Councilwoman Kelly Pullano was able to confirm that the passing a wind law did not need to be done immediately.

“He said the wind law and zoning is entirely up to the board and is one of the last things the siting board looks at,” Pullano said.

Last week, Hopkinton Town Supervisor Susan Wood said she was under the impression that the town board needed to revise its wind law before the developer filed its application or the existing less-restrictive wind law from 2011 would stand.

“It (wind law) can be submitted anytime, does not have to be before application is filed,” Pullano said.

Avangrid, the wind power company planning to build 27 turbines in Hopkinton, plans to file its application in the summer, according to Avangrid Communications Manager Paul Copleman.

The law from 2011 calls for setbacks of 1,800 feet from a residence – not the property line – and 600 feet from the road.

The law also would cover sound decibel limits and expanding the project south of State Highway 72 near the Adirondack Park. Payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) will need to be worked out as well.

The board will discuss wind issues at its Feb. 12 meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Supervisor Wood said previously should thought a March vote was possible. Now there is no need to rush a vote.

The latest talks for the wind law called for setbacks of 2,500 feet from a property line of a non-participating landowner (more than five times the height of a tower), and sound decibels of 40 dBA.

Town councilmen Steve Parker, who favors the wind farm, would like to see the sound decibel limit increased to 45 decibels. Parker also felt the 2,500-foot setback was too restrictive, but offered no reason for that stance.

New council member Kelly Pullano, has openly expressed that she is against industrial wind towers in her town. Councilwoman Susan Lyon has remained neutral on the topic. Supervisor Wood has said she is “skeptical” of the wind farms.

If and when a vote happens there will only be four eligible voters. Councilman Gilbert Sochia is abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

Supervisor Wood was not immediately available for comment.