The Alabama Town Board is considering a change in a section of the zoning law that, in effect, would make it more difficult for residents to complain about noise from windmills.
A public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. next Monday (Feb. 24) at the Town Hall on Judge Road to get feedback concerning the adoption of Proposed Local Law 2-2020 Town of Alabama Zoning Law Article IV Section 622, Part C7 Noise, amendment.
“This was actually started as a request from a citizen, who proposed the wording, and it was sent to the (Town) planning board and then back to the Town Board,” said Town Supervisor Rob Crossen, who took office on Jan. 1.
Crossen said he knew of one windmill in the southeast corner of the town that wasn’t functioning properly and emitted a loud noise that bothered several neighbors, but said that it has been repaired “to my knowledge.”
Windmills (not large wind turbines) are in operation at various locations in the Town of Alabama, including some on Macomber and Townline roads and on farms on Ledge Road and Maple Avenue.
Crossen also made it clear that he has no opinion on the matter at this point.
“I want to hear what the public has to say,” he said.
The current noise regulation states the following:
7. Noise. Audible noise due to the operation of any part of a Non-Commercial Wind Energy System shall not exceed 50 decibels (dBA) for more than 5 minutes out of any one-hour time period, when measured at any neighboring property line not owned by the applicant.
If the amendment is passed, a key revision would require residents filing a “legitimate complaint” to bear the cost of “independent third-party professional sound testing.”
The proposed amended ordinance reads as follows:
7. Noise. Audible noise due to the operation of any part of a Non-Commercial Wind Energy System shall not exceed 50 decibels (dBA) for more than 5 minutes out of any one-hour time period. An exemption shall be made when the National Weather Service issues a high wind advisory or warning.
Any sound testing shall only be done due to a legitimate complaint and shall be conducted in closest neighboring inhabited dwelling. The cost of this independent third-party professional sound testing shall be borne by the complainant. If the testing at complainant’s inhabited dwelling shows sound level exceeding allowable limits, the wind turbine owner must address and remedy the situation in coordination with the Town of Alabama Zoning Enforcement Officer.
— A wind advisory is issued when the following conditions are expected: sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph for an hour or more; and/or wind gusts of 46 to 57 mph for any duration;
— A high wind warning is issued when the following conditions are expected: sustained winds of 40 mph or higher for one hour or more; and/or wind gusts of 58 mph or higher for any duration.
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