Cohocton Wind Watch: Hartsville blocks wind
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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Friday, February 27, 2009

Hartsville blocks wind

Hartsville, N.Y.

Could it be a long, long year for wind developers in Hartsville?

The town board in Hartsville, at a special meeting Wednesday, voted to place a moratorium on all industrial wind development project approvals.

According to town Supervisor Steve Dombert, there are three main areas the town board would like to review before any project is approved:

l A review of financial assistance the town will receive.

l A review of how noise from turbines could impact the local population and property values.

l A comprehensive plan on what the town will do with the money from the project.

The decision came in opposition to half of the town board and officials from Germany-based wind developer E.ON, which asked the board to either hold off on the moratorium or shorten its duration.

“You will see we’ve done a lot of work on the environmental impact,” E.ON representative John Reynolds said. “Noise, birds, bats, roads —all of those things are in that report.”

“We wouldn’t prepare a draft EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) if we weren’t serious on moving forward with development,” said E.ON attorney Jackie Murray said. “It (the moratorium) sends a message that ... the use will be prohibited.”

Murray said the DEIS covers most of the issues raised by Dombert for the moratorium as well.

Dombert said the DEIS will be discussed at a Steuben County Industrial Development Agency meeting at noon today.

David Pullen, the town’s attorney, said the legislation would not put a damper on the SCIDA process, but will allow the town to review its wind law and make changes if needed.

“”It’s not a reflection if the E.ON proposal is a good one or a bad proposal,” Pullen said, adding only the town needs to review its law to make sure the town keeps its legal standing.

Information on the project has not been forthcoming, Dombert said, and it was not until a moratorium was discussed that information began to flow.

“Lo and behold, it led to our face-to-face meeting,” he said.

Dombert said the impact of the moratorium will hopefully be negligible on the project.

“We’re not in favor of delaying this thing anymore than necessary,” he said, adding he would just like “to withhold that power in the town.”

Reynolds said the timing of the moratorium discussion could still be misconstrued.

“It seems ironic that we started ramping up ... about the time we’re doing that, there is a discussion of a moratorium,” he said.

Board member Ben Ray proposed a six-month moratorium on the project, which he said would allow time for review but not hold up construction as a year-long moratorium might.

The board approved the year-long moratorium as written at the meeting.

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