ALFRED – A rogue wind turbine is generating unrest and fire hazards on Jericho Hill.
At Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Alfred Town Board, county Route 12 residents Jean Cardinale and Tammy Brackett lodged complaints about a neighbor’s windmill.
They told members of the board that the windmill, which has been in place since 2010, has gone from being “a nuisance” to a “pain” about six months ago, when they noticed an increase in noise.
The homeowners reported that they “Had to shout over it to be heard and it interfered with our sleep.”
On April 24, the residents heard what they called “a mechanical failure noise” and witnessed sparks flying from the turbine threatening to spark a fire among the felled pine trees below. After the fire department inspected the site, they again notified their neighbor of the problem.
Because the homeowner is only a part-time resident, it’s incumbent on the neighbors to notify him when the windmill is malfunctioning.
“Whenever something goes wrong, we end up being the caretakers of something that’s disrupting our peace,” Brackett said.
As of May 2, they noted no repair, and continued noise. This time they threatened the wind-mill owner with legal action.
Using a mobile phone app to measure the sound, they made five, one minute recordings with decibel readings measuring an average of 55-63 decibels, with peaks reaching as high as 80 decibels. The legal limit is 60. Charts and graphs of the recordings were presented to the board.
“These were recorded in normal Jericho Hill wind situations,” Cardinale said.
“We were yelling over the sound of the windmill to have a conversation, just feet away,” Brackett said.
On May 4, a repairman arrived on site and the blades were locked, reducing the noise.
“Steps were only taken when neighbors were pressed to the point of taking legal action,” Cardinale told the board.
Still unsatisfied with the level of noise generated, they asked the board for an amendment to wind law, preventing windmills in repair mode (not generating power) from spinning freely.
“The first thing to do would be contact the code enforcement officer and have the person cited,” Town Supervisor Dan Acton said, inferring that sufficient laws were already on the books.
“It’s a constant noise, but not as bad as it’s been the last six months,” Cardinale said.
Cardinale and Bracket were also concerned about how close the turbine was to their property line, and whether the windmill was too big for residential use.
“It’s like letting a rambunctious kid loose in our backyard, it’s getting to be a bit much,” Brackett closed.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding