Monday, January 18, 2010

Turbine foes seek new regs

The Western Catskill Preservation Alliance is asking the towns of Roxbury and Stamford to increase wind turbine setbacks to a minimum of 1,300 feet in town laws related to wind turbines, WCPA President Ron Karam said in a media release.

WCPA attorney Peter Henner has formally requested that the towns revisit the ordinances governing the placement of Industrial Wind Turbines based on setback requirements defined by Vestas, the manufacturer of the V90 turbines being proposed for the Invenergy project.

Invenergy was expected to submit its Final Environmental Impact Statement by the end of the year, but there was no mention of the document being submitted at the Stamford Town Board meeting on Monday, according to a spokeswoman at the Stamford Town Clerk's Office.

Invenergy spokesman Eric Miller said Friday that the company plans to have the FEIS completed within the month, but before it can be submitted to the Roxbury Planning Board, the town's engineer must approve it.

Miller said the FEIS has been delayed by several additional studies that were required after the comment period. The studies included bird studies and concerns with access roads, among other things, he said.

Miller said the setback regulations have been looked at very closely. He said Roxbury and Stamford require larger setbacks than many municipalities.

According to Karam, the "Safety Regulations for Operators and Technicians _ V90-3.0MW Turbines" manual published by Vestas and included in the Stamford Application and Draft Environmental Impact Statement is the safety manual for the V90 turbines being proposed for the project. The document states: "Do not stay within a radius of 400m (1300ft) from the turbine unless it is necessary."

The Roxbury wind ordinance requires that a turbine be placed 1.5 times the height of the turbine from a neighboring property line, Karam said. In Stamford, the setback is 1,000 feet to a property line.

"This is pure and simple an environmental safety issue that needs to be addressed by the towns," Karam said. "As new and relevant information becomes available about industrial wind turbines, the ordinances should be updated accordingly to protect its citizens."

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