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Barre town supervisor says he’s heard no opposition so far to ‘Heritage Wind’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 September 2016 at 7:02 am
File photo by Tom Rivers: A row of trees is pictured at sunset last March on East Barre Road in Barre. The town is eyed for a 200-megawatt wind turbine project.

File photo by Tom Rivers: A row of trees is pictured at sunset last March on East Barre Road in Barre. The town is eyed for a 200-megawatt wind turbine project.

BARRE – In Yates and Somerset, there are numerous signs showing either support or opposition for Lighthouse Wind, a 200-megawatt wind energy project proposed by Apex Clean Energy.

Signs say “Apex Go Home” or “Too Big, Too Close.” Others urge the community to “Harvest the Wind.”

Members of Save Ontario Shores, a citizens group opposed to the turbines near the lakeshore, have had rallies against the project.

In Barre, where Apex has been laying the groundwork for a 200-megawatt project, the project hasn’t yet faced opposition from Barre residents.

In fact, Barre Town Supervisor Mark Chamberlain said he hasn’t heard any complaints from Barre residents about “Heritage Wind.”

It’s still early. Apex announced Monday it has filed a draft Public Involvement Plan. The company will be meeting with residents, local officials and other community stakeholders. Apex said it will soon open an office locally.

Chamberlain said Ben Yazman, project developer for Apex, has been at recent Town Board meetings and has been meeting with landowners.

“They’ve certainly made themselves known in the town,” Chamberlain said. “I haven’t heard any gripes. People are wondering about leases.”

Apex officials said Barre has the wind strength and access to transmission lines, as well as lots of land in farming community that would work for the turbines. Yazman said the turbines take up a ½-acre of land and will provide landowners and the community steady annual revenue.

Apex believes it can work within the town’s zoning for turbines. Barre allows turbines up to 500 feet high.

The Town Board doesn’t have a final vote on the project. A seven-member State Siting Board, with two local representatives, makes that decision.

A project has yet to complete the new Article 10 siting process for turbines. Officials in Orleans and Niagara have gone on the record opposing Article 10 because it takes away local control and gives the state the power to approve the projects.

“It’s a long, long process,” Chamberlain said. “No one has made it through yet.”

Apex officials have said they need enough leases with landowners for a project to even be considered by the Siting Board. Yazman said Barre residents have been receptive so far to leasing land for turbines.

“If people want it and people sign up, that’s the determining factor,” Chamberlain said. “If they can’t get enough people to sign up, they’re dead in the water.”

The town supervisor said he doesn’t plan to push for or against the project.

“I will try to stay neutral,” he said. “I’m not going to lobby one way or the other.”

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