Some residents voice opposition to wind project at Yates Town Board meeting

Posted 13 February 2015 at 12:00 am

By Howard Balaban, Correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – Earlier this week a group of citizens from Save Ontario Shores spoke to the Lyndonville Board of Education, letting their concerns be known about a prospective wind farm in the northwest corner of the Town of Yates and also in the Town of Somerset.

The group of citizens also attended the Yates Town Board meeting on Thursday and reiterated their stance to the town officials.

Glenn Maid, a Yates resident, gave a presentation to the board and those in attendance with the goal of being “informative” and “persuasive.”

Apex Clean Energy is working on a plan to erect roughly 70 wind turbines in Yates and Somerset to generate power. Maid said the ultimate benefit from the project would be minimal.

“Wind power generation is expensive, inefficient, can not replace current power production methods, has not been shown to reduce CO2 emissions, and has had negative impact on land values and the environment,” Maid told the Town Board.

For about 25 minutes Maid described a host of the negatives associated with Apex and the wind energy project. Among those negatives were the environmental effects on wildlife, the long-term effects on property values, the lack of any type of guarantee of decreased local energy costs, the tax credits associated with such large scale projects, and the reports of how other areas with wind farms have suffered.

In short, Maid said wind energy projects have “proven to be detrimental” to the communities in which they are created.

He cited a number of concerns such as how the project would be funded and how the biggest beneficiaries would be those who run the corporation.

Maid saved his most pointed remarks for the end of his talk. In referencing New York State law, he said, “Municipalities have the responsibility to follow their own laws.” With that in mind, he said the 1996 coalition formed along the Orleans County waterfront with Yates, Carlton, and Kendall determined a number of things, chief among them the manner in which the area north of Route 18 is developed.

“There are 44 policies governing all development in the region,” he said. Those policies require that each community “foster an orderly pattern of growth” and that any “new developments which are shown to compromise a significant habitat should be given low priority or not pursued.”

Furthermore, Maid cited Yates Local Law 1, filed in 2008. The law is specific to wind facilities located in the town.

Maid said the law “acknowledges all of the aforementioned hazards of such development” and also sets a list of standards for any turbines built within town limits. Among those standards are a maximum height of 420 feet. The Apex project would build turbines between 550 and 600 feet.

In closing, Maid asked the town board to consider its place in history.

“You, as our town board, have the power to stop this,” he said. “You have the power to not issue permits for this project.”

He added, “If this project goes forward, all that will be accomplished is us giving millions of tax dollars to a multi-million dollar company to screw up our town … A project of this scope and magnitude has no place in Yates, or anywhere else for that matter.

“What we need is sound, systematic commercial and residential growth, not wind farms,” he continued. “Do you, the members of this board, want to be forever known as the board that damaged an ‘All America’ town?”

Also briefly speaking after Maid’s presentation was Donn Riggi, a Lake Shore Road resident. She said she spoke to someone who lived near a wind facility who said life there “was not so bad.” However, “not so bad” is not what she was in search for when she and her husband purchased their home.

Riggi provided several different articles from places like Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Ontario to show how wind energy is not as positive as the companies creating it would lead one to believe. She encouraged all in attendance to get informed on the issue.

As for the town board, it did not offer an official stance on the matter because to this point, no official proposal has been submitted.