Several letters to this paper regarding industrial wind regulations recently have mentioned that no one is entitled to preserve “the view” at another’s expense. This is generally true (some states require wind farms to avoid despoiling the view, using setbacks and other tools). Since “the view” is a way of expressing how beautiful a community is, the “view” is something we all should have an interest in protecting.
But although the degradation of the “view” is a problem it is not the issue here. Not at present, anyway. What is at issue is that Albany County should adopt regulations appropriate to protect residents against the impact of a modern industrial wind facility that may be placed in their neighborhoods. Wind technology has changed a great deal in the more than 10 years since Albany County’s regulations were written, and a great deal more is known about the damage these facilities do to those unfortunate enough to live near them. It is important to remember that developers are not the only people with property rights that need protecting.
Regulations – (zoning) – are used to separate uses that are incompatible. Zoning also is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing uses and/or to preserve the “character” of a community. Albany County’s outdated wind zoning needs to reflect these goals.
It’s not hard to be taken in by inflated promises of free money, jobs, and future tax revenues, so it’s important to be aware of the problems brought on by modern industrial wind developments before decisions are made about where and how they should be sited. A brief Internet search will acquaint you with these problems and the various remedies that other places have used to deal with them. Albany County’s zoning is in sore need of an update if the homeowners and businesses in the county are to be protected from the many known adverse impacts resulting from these developments.
Mary F. Moore