Cohocton Wind Watch: Orleans wind group to focus on safety
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Orleans wind group to focus on safety

LAFARGEVILLE — The town of Orleans Citizen Wind Committee was encouraged to focus on public health and safety at its first meeting Thursday night.

"The primary concern of any project is public safety," Councilman Dean T. Morrow told the committee. "We want to make sure that you all focus on our objective — that where we place windmills is not going to harm people and the environment."

He said the Town Council will consider the economic impact of a project in the town.

"The big issue is with setbacks," Councilman Thomas A. Johnston Jr. said. "With setbacks comes many things."

Committee members agreed that they wanted to examine audible and low frequency noise, snow and ice throw, effects on underground aquifers, the possibility of releasing radon gas and shadow flicker. The committee will ask experts on those subjects to give presentations and will look for scientific evidence.

The committee's final product will be facts and recommendations to turn over to the Town Council for integration into a revised zoning law.

Mr. Morrow said there have been complaints the committee might not be balanced enough.

"But if you take the scientific approach and keep from taking a certain bent or following predisposed notions and keep your mind open, I think you can find the facts," he said. "I think a lot of good will come from this."

The committee, which has five members, is open to having several more. The members agreed to meet from 7 to 9 p.m. every other Friday.

The members hoped to complete the fact-finding process far in advance of the year timeline that had been discussed.

Mr. Johnston encouraged them to move as quickly as possible. He is a member of the group of officials from different taxing jurisdictions that has begun work on a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for wind farms. The group last met in June before the Horse Creek Wind Farm application was suspended by the developer, Iberdrola SA of Spain.

"It has stalled because of the environmental impact study," he said. "As soon as it's done, they'll go back at the PILOT."

The committee's next meeting is at 7 p.m. Friday at the town office. Members will appoint a chairperson and will begin a discussion about noise.

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