REDFIELD – The Town Council decided to take a second look at its proposed wind law Tuesday after questioning the validity of a few provisions.
“We just read through the entire wind law and looked at things that needed to be researched a little more,” said Town Supervisor Tanya M. Yerdon.
The board previously introduced its proposed wind law, Local Law No. 2 of 2018, to regulate several aspects of wind energy facility development in response to Avangrid Renewables’s plans to build its Mad River Wind Farm in the towns of Redfield and Worth.
After rereading the wind law during a special meeting Tuesday, however, Mrs. Yerdon said the board decided to re-evaluate its regulations involving real property value, decommissioning and turbine height and findings involving Fort Drum.
The board questioned whether it could legally require Avangrid to sign a real property value protection plan to protect property owners from any potential loss in value due to the wind farm.
Mrs. Yerdon said the board will also reconsider whether the law should include findings about the town’s desire to protect Fort Drum from possible adverse effects from wind turbines.
“We just thought these shouldn’t be in there because that falls under Fort Drum’s responsibility, so the board will think more about it,” Mrs. Yerdon said.
The board also decided to re-evaluate whether it should have a maximum height limit of 500 feet established in the law, since more recent turbine models have exceeded that height.
It also decided to replace the law’s requirement for developers to provide a security deposit of $200,000 per turbine for decommissioning.
“It would be better to have a formula” to determine the cost, Mrs. Yerdon said, “so we have that to look into.”
The board also previously proposed eight other laws that would regulate other aspects of wind farm development including temporary buildings, wetlands, erosion control, blasting and road use.
The legislation drew several comments from Oswego County residents and attorneys who were concerned about them having unintended consequences on the town’s livelihood.
Mrs. Yerdon said the board decided to set them aside to focus on the wind law and a possible road use agreement.
“The board just felt they were too much – too restrictive to try to pass at this point,” she said.
Avangrid and its subsidiary, Atlantic Wind LLC, plan to build 88 turbines for a 350-megawatt wind farm on about 20,000 acres of property owned by WoodWise Land Co.
Matt P. Smith, director of operations for WoodWise, could not be reached for comment.
“We have previously submitted comments on Local Law No. 2,” said Paul N. Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid. “Based on the meeting Tuesday, the town is continuing to receive comments and is working through the process. The town is following the same deliberate and diligent process it recently followed for the town’s new zoning law.”
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