CANISTEO – The Canisteo Town Board is scheduled to vote July 22 on a wind energy facilities law.
If approved by board members, the “Wind Energy Facility Law of the Town of Canisteo” will establish rules and regulations governing the placement, construction and operation of wind turbine generators (WTGs) in the town.
The 17-page law, which was discussed at a public hearing Monday night in the Canisteo Town Hall, is designed to “promote the effective and efficient use of the town’s wind energy resources … so that the public health, safety and welfare will not be jeopardized,” according to its “Purpose” detailed on page 1 of the document.
Canisteo officials said about 35 people signed in at Monday night’s town board meeting, which included a public hearing on the law. Officials said there were comments expressed in favor and in opposition to proposal, which is filed as Local law 1 of 2019.
Residents of Canisteo and several surrounding communities attended the meeting, officials said.
Canisteo Supervisor Steve Weed said Canisteo’s proposed law is “modeled somewhat” on the Town of Jasper’s wind law, with Canisteo town attorneys putting the finial version together. If passed, the law will be the first of its kind for Canisteo.
“Canisteo has never had a wind law,” Weed said Tuesday, noting that the town is an exception in this regard compared to most other nearby municipalities.
Weed said he received conflicting opinions initially about the need for a wind law.
“I asked the attorneys awhile ago if we needed a wind law, and the (attorneys) said, ‘No,’” he related.
But Weed said other people in Canisteo expressed different views on the question of whether or not to put a wind energy law in place, including a member of the town board.
“So that’s how it came to be. And I get it. They’re trying to establish some (rules) for down the road,” Weed said.
The law includes a description of the detailed and extensive permitting process for wind turbine generators, a summary of the application review procedures, an explanation of the standards for wind energy facilities, and the rules and requirements for safety measures, roads and traffic, sound levels and setbacks.
The law also covers the waiver process, permit revocation and abatement stipulations, and site feasibility studies.
In the “Findings” section of the law, the town board acknowledges “wind energy is an abundant, renewable and nonpolluting energy resource … and its conversion to electricity may reduce dependence on nonrenewable sources.”
Other findings note that wind turbines “if not properly regulated … can create drainage problems through erosion and lack of sediment control” and wind turbines “represent significant potential aesthetic impacts because of their large size, lighting, and shadow effects, if not properly sited.”
The July 22 meeting was scheduled so the board can vote on the law, officials said. Asked if there could be adjustments made to the proposed law, Weed said while that’s possible, he expects council members to reach their own conclusions on the current version over the next couple of weeks and vote for it or against it at the special meeting.
Weed added, “We talked Monday night, and what it amounts to is, board members can study what they want to study, and July 22, it’s an open meeting, we are going to decide then. That’s the only thing the meeting is for – to adopt or not adopt this wind law.”
The supervisor said he will not predict which way the vote will go.
“I’m going to vote for it, but what I want is what is best for the town,” he said. “When this all first started I said, ‘Am I for or against? I’m not, I just want what’s best for the town.’”
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