CANISTEO – The Town of Canisteo’s proposed wind energy facilities law is expected to come before the town board for a vote on Aug. 12 after modifications suggested at a special meeting Monday night are incorporated into the final document.
The town board spent more than two and a half hours “hashing out points of the wind law that will apply to our town,” said Canisteo Supervisor Steve Weed, who called the July 22 meeting “productive.”
“There were some changes made,” Weed continued. “We had mirrored the Jasper wind law (in the original drafting of the Canisteo law), using that as a pattern. We put in our own setbacks on it.”
Weed said the discussion picked up where the July 8 public hearing on the law left off.
“It was a productive meeting but the attorney that represents us, Elizabeth Oklevitch, needs a finalization so she can print this up and we can hopefully adopt it in August,” Weed said.
Changes to the proposal revolve around property setbacks, sound and shadow flicker, Weed recounted.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, shadow flicker describes the shadows cast by moving wind turbine blades on sunny days. Shadow flicker analysis is performed through computer-based mapping and modeling and is “highly predictable.”
The wind energy trade group claims “general setback requirements are typically enough to mitigate the shadow flicker annoyance.” However, the group goes on to say, “Some jurisdictions choose to separately regulate shadow flicker. For example, an ordinance could limit shadow flicker to nonparticipating occupied buildings to a set number of hours per year.”
Weed said, “Those are the things we had to address. We (also) had to address waivers on behalf of the landowners as well as the non-participating people.”
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 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.
Officials said this would be the first law of its type in Canisteo.
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.
Officials said about three dozen people attended the July 8 public hearing, with both support and opposition to the law voiced. Weed said there are differing views on the town board, as well. He said residents have raised valid concerns, but he continues to back passage.
“As far as I see there is no animosity, hopefully, among the board members,” the supervisor said. “There are some board members who are definitely against them, and I don’t even dare predict how the vote will go in August. I hope the wind law will pass. I think we made some good ground on it.”
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 “Wind Energy Facility Law of the Town of Canisteo” is filed as Local law 1 of 2019.
Weed stressed that wind host agreements and road use rules are separate from the wind law proposal, and would be negotiated and put in place later in the process if an energy facilities company wants to go forward with a project in the town.
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