WORTH – Several residents who urged the Town Council not enact its wind law earlier this month accused it of not revealing the fact that it had already been adopted last month.
Supervisor Judith A. Nichols said on May 8 the board would not vote on the law or take any action, after facing an outcry from residents like Norm Paradis, Jessica Patrzyk and Anthony Tubolino during its meeting, which drew about 50 people. The board would review the concerns shared that night to make possible revisions, she said that night.
According to paperwork filed with the state Department of State April 29, however, the board adopted its wind energy facilities law April 3, and those same residents said officials failed to inform them of the decision at the May meeting.
Several attempts to reach Mrs. Nichols were unsuccessful.
“I feel very let down by the people who are supposed to represent us,” said Jennifer Tubolino, who also attended the May 8 meeting. “I’m disgusted by their behavior, and honestly, I think something needs to change.”
The board discussed the 48-page law, which contains regulations for the siting of large-scale wind projects, residential turbines and wind measurement towers, during its March 7, April 3 and May meetings.
While the paperwork with the state reported that the law was adopted at the April meeting, Mr. Paradis, who attended it with his wife, Camille, said the board concluded discussions about the law by voting to table it. He accused the board of reversing course after they and other residents left, and then adopting it.
“It’s a little discouraging to see that the board is willing to lie to the people of the town of Worth, is what it comes down to,” Mrs. Paradis said. “How can we trust them after this? If you’re representing the citizens, you have to listen to what they have to say.”
Officials spent more than a year crafting a wind energy facilities law as developer Avangrid Renewables plans to build a portion of its Mad River Wind Farm in the town. Another developer, SWEB Development, Halifax, Nova Scotia, has also considered developing a wind farm in the town, although at a much smaller scale than Avangrid’s proposed 350-megawatt one.
The law limits turbine height for projects that would generate more than 100 kilowatts of electricity to 400 feet. Developers have to erect turbines and components away from property lines, structures and roads at a distance of five times their height.
Commercial wind farm turbines cannot emit noise louder than 35 A-weighted decibels, which equates to a ticking watch, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 25 A-weighted decibels, which equates to a relatively quiet office, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The law also includes regulations dictating traffic routes, lighting, safety, construction debris and solid-waste cleanup and decommissioning.
Several residents, including Ms. Patrzyk, Mr. Tubolino and Mr. Paradis, who is running for a council seat, opposed the legislation, saying it was too prohibitive.
Mr. Tubolino said taxes have continued to climb in the town, and if SWEB Development decided to lease land to build a wind farm, it could provide residents another revenue source to help pay them. He and Mrs. Tubolino are organic dairy farmers, but Mrs. Tubolino said organic milk prices have fallen and are expected to drop further, so a wind lease could help supplement their income.
Both Mr. Paradis and Ms. Patrzyk said revenue generated from wind farm development could help the town.
“This could be huge for our town. There are so many things we need,” Ms. Patrzyk said. “The town spends more time fixing equipment than it does fixing our roads.”
The board will meet again and discuss the wind law at 6 p.m. June 12 at the town barn, 24252 County Route 189.
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