Cohocton Wind Watch: Orleans Council discusses 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, September 18, 2009

Orleans Council discusses wind

LAFARGEVILLE — The Orleans Town Council seemed most concerned with whether the Wind Committee's recommendations would still allow the proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm.

The council, committee, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals talked about the recommendations at a meeting Wednesday night.

Councilman Thomas A. Johnston said he looked at every parcel in the current wind overlay district, where project development is allowed. None of them had enough space to comply with the recommended setbacks and have room for turbines.

"We have to allow them to fit somewheres," he said.

"It may hamper the Horse Creek project," committee co-chairman Stephen Bingeman said. "It does not end wind development in Orleans — there are areas in the township where wind development can take place."

The committee suggested in its recommendations that the town open up the district to the entire town.

"There are areas in our town where we can put them," said Councilman Peter R. Davis.

"With 3,000-foot setbacks from the road and 4,000 feet for 30 decibels, how many actual sites could there be in the town?" asked ZBA Chairman Larry Waldroff. "I can't think of too many places where we can follow these setbacks."

Committee co-chairwoman Judy E. Tubolino said, "There's a lot more open land up towards Theresa."

Mr. Bingeman asked if turbine placement should be the concern of the committee and council over the health and safety of residents.

"I don't know," he said. "I don't think so."

Members of the council did ask whether setting 30 decibels as an absolute limit for sound would be better than using the relative standard of five decibels above ambient noise, which is what the committee recommended.

The recommendations included a chart that showed the distance needed to move away from a turbine with sound production at 102 decibels at the hub, a common level.

"By the chart you have included, 30 decibels would be about 4,000 feet," Mr. Davis said. But a larger, louder turbine would require a greater setback.

The relative standard would be fairer across the board, committee facilitator Charles E. Ebbing said.

The council liked the idea of a compliance committee to help residents with any complaints about an established wind farm.

The recommendations had suggested a $100,000 escrow account for the compliance committee to investigate complaints.

"That seems like a very, very modest figure," Mr. Johnston said. "A quarter of a million would probably be better."

Committee member Darryl Hyde said, "We put that in there just to get you to think about it. We're not attached to any figure."

At the end of the meeting, Jay M. Burrows, a LaFargeville farmer and landowner, turned in a petition with about 100 signatures, asking the council to "take advantage of the abundant wind resource" and keep a zoning law that would allow development.

Supervisor Donna J. Chatterton said the council would host a meeting for public comments on the recommendations, possibly Oct. 21.

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