Medina Village Board declines to weigh in on Shelby turbine project

Photo simulation provided by Borrego Solar System Inc.: This viewpoint from Blair Road shows two 633-foot-high wind turbines proposed off Route 63, south of the Village of Medina.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 August 2022 at 10:40 am

MEDINA – The Medina Village Board was asked to make a public stance about two proposed wind turbines that would peak at 633 feet high, south of the village.

Linda Limina told the board on Monday evening she fears the turbines would hurt residential property values in the southern part of the village, and would detract from the community’s historic downtown business district.

“It’s going to be extremely visible from pretty much anywhere in the village,” Limina told the village officials. “A lot of people have put money in their houses and in Main Street.”

Village Board members said they didn’t want to make public statements about a project in another community.

Deputy Mayor Owen Toale said the board “doesn’t feel it is our place.” He said Limina’s comments on Monday were the first time the issue has been brought up publicly at a village meeting.

This viewpoint is from Oak Orchard Elementary School.

Limina said the project would deter from the aesthetics in the village. She said she doesn’t oppose the turbines, but thinks they shouldn’t be proposed for so close to the village “were they can so prominently be seen.”

Borrego Solar System Inc. is proposing the two turbines on South Gravel Road in an apple orchard owned by the Smith family. Town Supervisor Jeff Smith recently retired as an apple grower. His family’s property is proposed for the two turbines. He is recusing himself from any votes or official discussion about the project.

The Orleans County Planning Board last month recommended that Shelby approve a special use permit for the project and also OK the site plan. The project still needs a final vote from Shelby.

The two turbines would each have a capacity to generate 5 megawatts of power. The turbines would peak at 633 feet in height, and that is from the ground to the top tip of the blade. The ground to the main hub is 363.7 feet with the blades at a total diameter of 479 feet. Because of the height of the turbines, they will need to be lighted for Federal Aviation Administration standards.

Borrego has presented visual studies that show the turbines would be very prominent on Route 63, and also would be visible from the Oak Orchard Elementary School and Glenwood Avenue canal bridge near Main Street. From the downtown at street level, the simulations show the turbines wouldn’t be visible. Click here to see the simulations.

This simulation is from the Glenwood Avenue canal bridge with American Legion at left. The turbines are visible just above the tree line.

Limina said there are also concerns about the turbines with the nearby Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, which does training in the area.

Toale, who led Monday’s Village Board meeting, urged Limina to take her concerns to the Shelby Town Board.

“It’s a Town of Shelby problem, not a Village of Medina problem,” Toale said.

Trustee Jess Marciano also declined to weigh in, saying it’s Shelby’s jurisdiction.

Trustee Marguerite Sherman urged village residents who also live in the Town of Shelby to speak up and share their concerns with Shelby town officials.

Borrego’s anticipated timeline for the project includes:

  • November 2020 to November 2021: Built meteorological tower to assess weather conditions; this tower is currently visible on the site and will be removed before construction begins on the turbines
  • Spring 2022: Complete all site studies to evaluate historical/cultural resources, endangered or threatened species and wetlands
  • Summer 2022: Town permitting begins. Public hearings to be announced when scheduled.
  • Fall 2022: Receive Town approval
  • Summer 2023: Submit building permits
  • Fall 2023: Construction begins