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Hopkinton town board agrees not to expand wind overlay zone south of SH 72; setbacks and sound limit set

HOPKINTON – The Hopkinton Town Board agreed Tuesday night not to extend the wind overlay zone south of Route 72 as part of their new wind law.

The agreement came at a work session in which the public was not allowed to speak.

The meeting was still well attended by community residents as well as employees and legal representatives for Avangrid Renewables, the company that plans to build 27 industrial turbines in the town.

Avangrid’s North Ridge Wind Energy Project has divided the community and been a major talking point in St. Lawrence County for over a year. Those for the project claim to want the project to provide green energy while also benefiting the town financially. Opponents of the project claim it would destroy the landscape and is only merely about corporate greed.

“There were a lot of people – like always,” Councilwoman Kelly Pullano said.

In the end, the board agreed to all of the suggestions of the wind advisory committee. Council members Sue Lyon, Kelly Pullano, Steven Parker and Town Supervisor Susan Wood all agreed on setbacks and sound limited. Parker voted to extend the overlay zone.

“I am thrilled we voted to do exactly what the wind advisory board gave us,” she said.

The board agreed to not extend the overlay zone following a petition signed by 150 residents that opposed expanding the overlay zone closer to the Adirondack Park. All of the residents who signed the petition are either homeowners or taxpayers on land south of SH 72.

It is not clear how the change will impact Avangrid’s ability to place turbines in Hopkinton. North Country This Week reached out to the company for comment.

The board also settled on a sound decibel limit of 40 dBA and setbacks of 2,500 feet (or five times the height of tip of the blade) from a property line.

Board members also discussed a proposal giving property owners who live with one a mile of a wind tower that chance to be compensated for loss of property value. The compensations would be based on two appraisals.

MaryJane Toomey, who served as a member on the wind advisory board, spoke about the proposal and said the appraisal should be done when the property is sold. A legal representative for Avangrid from Young/Sommer, LLC asked if he was allowed to respond. He was told no.

Following the meeting the lawyer approached Hopkinton town officials seeking a copy of an email, Pullano said.

A public hearing is slated for March 14 at 6:30 p.m. and a vote is expected at a March 19 meeting.