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Part of 98 in Barre to be repaved following harsh winter weather

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2019 at 2:39 pm

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $128 million in new state funding for repaving projects on state roads, including a portion of Route 98 in the Town of Barre.

The governor’s announcement said the roads were all impacted by this year’s harsh winter weather.

Funding will support 91 paving projects and the renewal of approximately 1,000 lane miles of pavement across the state, including at least one project in every county and the City of New York.

The new funding, provided through the PAVE NY Initiative, complements $100 million previously committed earlier this year for local projects that renew approximately 3,700 lane miles of road across New York State. This unprecedented infrastructure investment will make state highways safer and more efficient, while encouraging local commerce and tourism, the governor said. The projects announced today will begin this spring and will be completed later this year.

“A thriving transportation network is critical to supporting New York’s regional economic growth and local economies,” Governor Cuomo said. “While New York continues its nation leading investments in transportation infrastructure, harsh winter weather is the new normal and it impacts thousands of lane miles each year. This funding will help rejuvenate dozens of roads across New York and make traveling smoother while supporting local economies.”

In the Finger Lakes region – Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Yates and Seneca counties – the projects include approximately $12.8 million to renew 118 lane miles of the following roads:

• $980,000 to resurface Route 98 from Puzzey Road to Route 31A in Orleans County.

• $1.8 million to resurface Route 237 from Route 33 to the Genesee/Orleans County Line in Genesee County.

• $1.3 million to resurface Route 436 from the Wyoming/Livingston County Line to the Village of Nunda (West Village Line) in Livingston County.

• $1.3 million to resurface Route 253 (Lehigh Station Road) from Route 15A to Route 65 in Monroe County.

• $730,000 to resurface Route 19 from Route 104 to Route 18 in Monroe County.

• $1.0 million to resurface Route 64 from Route 21 to Dugway Road in Ontario County.

• $2.0 million to resurface Route 88 from Pearl Street to the Village of Sodus (South Village Line) in Wayne County.

• $1.4 million to resurface Route 19 from Route 39 to Route 78 in Wyoming County.

• $1.0 million to resurface Route 96A from Route 96 (Village of Interlaken) to Route 414 in Seneca County.

• $1.3 million to resurface Route 14A from Lake Street to the Windmill Farm in Yates County.

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Apex intends to apply in May-June to build 33 wind turbines in Barre

Photos by Tom Rivers: Tracy Butler, director of civil engineering for Apex, discusses how 33 turbines would be constructed in Barre. He is speaking at a community forum on Thursday evening about the proposed Heritage Wind project in Barre. The meeting was at the Albion Middle School Auditorium.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 March 2019 at 12:01 pm

Company will propose turbines at 655 feet at highest tip height

ALBION – Apex Clean Energy intends to file an application with the state in May or June to build 33 wind turbines with a top tip height at 655 feet, making them some of the tallest structures in Western New York. (One Seneca Tower in downtown Buffalo is the tallest building in WNY at 529 feet.)

The turbines that Apex wants to build in Barre would each generate 4.8 megawatts of power or 158.4 MWs for the entire project. Apex had discussed for turbines with a 600-foot tip height for Barre that would have generated 4.2 MWs.

Getting taller turbines means they can produce more power. That also means the company won’t need to build as many. Apex was considering 47 turbines in Barre as part of Heritage Wind.

Neil Habig (left), is director of project development for Apex Clean Energy’s northeast renewable energy projects. He is joined on the panel by Ben Yaman (center), Heritage Wind project development manager; and Gregory Liberman, senior environmental project manager with Environmental Design & Research in Syracuse. He is working with Apex on many of the environmental studies.

The company held a community forum on Thursday evening at the Albion Middle School Auditorium and company officials discussed different aspects of the project for more than 2 hours. About 50 people attended the forum.

Apex would like to have the wind turbines operational in 2021, said Ben Yazman, project manager for Heritage Wind.

The project is expected to provide about $7,500 per MW to the community to offset taxes, about $1.2 million total. Lease holders also stand to receive at least $5,000 per MW, which would be about $800,000 at the minimum.

Yazman also said at least eight full-time jobs would be created with the project once construction is done.

Building the 33 turbines, running underground cables, constructing electric substations and all the other work on the project will top $200 million, said Neil Habig, director of project development for Apex Clean Energy’s northeast renewable energy projects.

Apex released this layout of the turbine locations, with most of the eastern side of town. Click on map to see it larger.

The company had a panel of experts available at the forum. They were asked many questions about the impact of the turbines on property values, shadow flicker, noise, town roads and wildlife.

Habig said numerous studies have shown turbines don’t depress property values. Because the turbines reduce town taxes, they often result in a community that is in more demand by residents, he said.

“The data shows no negative correlation,” he said. “It’s been studied extensively.”

New York is now home to about 25 wind projects, and Habig said they haven’t reduced property values in their communities.

The turbines will need a minimum wind speed of about 7 miles per hour to turn the blades and generate electricity. Habig said new technology and the taller heights allow the turbines to be financially feasible in areas that previously were thought to not have enough consistent and strong winds.

“The turbines blades are longer and don’t need as much wind to be viable,” he said.

Robert O’Neal, a managing principal at Epsilon Associates in Maynard, Mass., discussed sound impacts from turbines. He said the turbines won’t make enough noise to disrupt neighbors’ sleep.

Robert O’Neal, a sound expert for Apex, said the turbines won’t be louder than 45 decibels to the neighboring homes. That is below the threshold for when outside noise can affect a resident’s sleep, he said.

O’Neal said he has been involved with assessing noise at about 150 wind turbine projects. He said the low-frequency noise known as infrasound won’t be loud enough to cause headaches or affect health.

“Infrasound is in our homes,” he said. “It’s everywhere.”

Apex needs to provide detailed reports to the state as part of the application on many topics about health and safety, wildlife, a construction plan and other issues.

Marcel Minus is a senior energy analyst for Apex. He said shadow flicker is typically an issue for a few minutes each day, and only when it’s sunny outside. He focuses on wind flow modelling, layout design and energy production estimates for Apex. The taller turbines will produce longer shadows.

The company will be building access roads and will have to widen some town roads and increase turning radiuses. Apex will work with Barre town officials to make an assessment of the town roads before the project and then do an inventory of the condition after construction.

“We will leave them in the same or better condition that we found them,” Yazman said about the roads.

These Apex experts include Tracy Butler, construction; Robert O’Neal, sound; and James Muscato, a lawyer who focuses on the Article 10 application process through the state.

Apex also needs to have a decommissioning plan for the turbines. They are expected to last 25 to 30 years. The company needs to provide a financial security for the turbines’ removal as part of the decommissioning plan.

Tracy Butler, director of civil engineering for Apex, said the turbines would be taken down piece by piece. The top 4 feet of the concrete foundations would be jack-hammered out and soil would be put in. Access roads would also be removed and soil de-compacted so it could again be used for crops, if desired.

If Apex is sold, the project would transfer to the new owner. However, the Satte Siting Board would need to vote on transferring the project to the new owner. The same conditions for operating the project would apply to a new owner, said James Muscato, an attorney for Apex.

A video of the presentation will be available at Heritagewindpower.com. The company will also provide more answers to questions not answered at the meeting. Those answers will be on the Heritage Wind website and also posted to NYS Department of Public Service website that details correspondence and filings about the project in Barre.

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Apex on Thursday will give update on project proposed for Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 February 2019 at 2:07 pm

Officials will be at forum to discuss environmental issues, siting and construction

ALBION – Apex Clean Energy will have a community forum from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday to provide an update on its Heritage Wind project proposed for the town of Barre.

The meeting is at the Albion Middle School Auditorium, 254 East Ave. Doors open at 7 p.m.

This information session will offer a project update and presentations from experts to address topics including environmental, project design and siting, construction, decommissioning, shadow flicker and sound, Apex officials said.

Project information will be on display in the lobby prior to the start of the program, and an agenda for the forum will be provided for all in attendance. The program will be conducted by a moderator and include a panel comprising Apex staff and credentialed experts.

A Q&A session will be led by the moderator after the panel presentation. Audience members will have the opportunity to submit their questions before and during the program for the moderator to pose to panelists about the project. Questions that go unanswered due to time constraints will be answered and posted to www.heritagewindpower.com after March 28.

“We would like our panelists to be able to communicate about Heritage Wind in a professional manner to enable everyone in attendance to learn more about the project specifics,” Apex said in a news release. “Signs, banners, and disruptive behavior will not be permitted. Security will be present.”

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State approves $204K grant for Pine Hill Airport in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2019 at 8:27 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: This picture from September 2013 shows Darin Kenney of Brockport standing in a hangar at Pine Hill Airport with several vintage military airplanes, including an air ambulance from 1944 at right.

BARRE – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $23.6 million in funding for 31 airports in upstate on Wednesday, including $204,000 for the Pine Hill Airport in Barre.

The Pine Hill grant will go towards construction of an aircraft fuel storage and dispensing system. Pine Hill is the only airport with a hard-surface runway in Orleans County.

The state funding for airports was awarded to support safety enhancements, modernization of facilities, operational improvements and local business development, Cuomo said. These projects are funded through the Governor’s State Aviation Capital Grant Program initiative and complement the Governor’s Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, which has provided $200 million to modernize airports across Upstate.

“New York’s airports represent the front door to our local communities and are critical to facilitating tourism and business development,” Cuomo said. “A world-class airport is crucial to regional economic growth, and by investing in the modernization of our local airports we are creating vibrant communities where people want to live, work and play.”

Other airports to receive funding in the Finger Lakes Region include:

• $656,000 to construct a new aircraft hangar at the Genesee County Airport

• $559,000 to construct a deicing containment system and emergency equipment at the Penn Yan-Yates County Airport

• $499,000 to deploy a new start-of-the-art garage parking guidance system at the Greater Rochester International Airport

• $369,000 to renovate an aircraft hangar at the Dansville Municipal Airport in Livingston County

• $336,000 for the installation of a new Jet-A fuel tank and associated equipment at the Williamson-Sodus Airport in Wayne County

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Triple G named ‘Conservation Farm of the Year’ in Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District on Thursday presented Triple G Farms with the “Conservation Farm of the Year” in Orleans County for 2018. Pictured form left include: Megan McAnn, a technician for Soil & Water; Guy Smith, Triple G co-owner; and Katie Sommerfeldt, Soil & Water district manager.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2019 at 9:32 am

ALBION – A muck farm that started in 1925 was named the 2018 “Conservation Farm of the Year” in Orleans County. Triple G Farms is now run by brothers Guy and Greg Smith, and their nephew Pete Smith.

They grow potatoes and onions on 645 acres of muckland in Barre, Clarendon and Elba.

Megan McAnn, the Soil & Water technician, holds the Ag Environmental Management sign that Triple G can display for its conservation work. Guy Smith, Triple G co-owner, holds the trophy for the award.

Triple G has worked hard to preserve the soil and improve the soil health, putting in many miles of drainage tile, and putting in cover crops and wind breaks. They have also reduced chemical usage through Integrated Pest Management, including field scouting and targeted application of pesticides, the Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District said on Thursday when it presented the farm with the award.

Triple G also has installed an agrichemical handling and mixing facility which prevents pesticides and chemicals from spilling onto the soil.

“Triple G Farms takes pride in packing a quality product to be enjoyed by consumers while proving their excellent stewardship of the land and desire to protect our natural resources,” Sil & Water leaders said in presenting the award at the agency’s annual meeting at Tillman’s Village Inn.

Guy Smith, one of the farm co-owners, thanked Soil & Water staff for their work in helping the farm implement many of the initiatives at the farm.

“The mucklands are highly erodible and we need to preserve it so it’s there for the next generation,” said Smith, who was worked at the farm full-time since 1981.

The farm continuously is focused on drainage tile, putting in new drainage or replacing tile from decades ago that has deteriorated. The tile helps move water off the muck. Smith said the big rain storms used to be an inch, but now they are 2 inches. That water can flood fields and submerge crops without proper drainage.

The cover crops help hold down the soil after a planting or when a field is plowed. Triple G tends to plant barley as a cover crop for onions and rye in its field of potatoes.

“I just want to thank the Soil & Water staff,” Smith said. “Without the staff we wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

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Tax payment deadline extended to Feb. 21 for Barre and Murray

Staff Reports Posted 14 February 2019 at 5:53 pm

Property owners in the Orleans County towns of Barre and Murray have been given three extra weeks to pay their property taxes, due to the rough winter weather that closed government buildings and slowed the Postal Service leading up to the Jan. 31 deadline.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an executive order extending the property tax payment due date in municipalities impacted by recent winter storms. This extension allows residents to pay their taxes without interest or penalty for an additional 21 days past the final date taxes are due.

The executive order is in direct response to requests by several municipalities whose property tax due dates fell during or shortly after recent storms, but whose residents were unable to make the payments on time due to the disruption of public transportation, utility service and postal operations.

“With several recent winter storms impeding the ability of residents across the state to pay their property taxes on time, I am extending the due date for these payments to ensure New Yorkers are not penalized as a result of Mother Nature’s unpredictability,” Cuomo said. “Dealing with winter weather events is stressful enough, and residents in communities especially hard hit can rest assured they will not be further impacted by these storms.”

The extension was granted to Cayuga, Chautauqua, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties, as well as towns in 40 other counties. In addition to Barre and Murray in Orleans, other towns in nearby counties in the extension include: Darien in Genesee, Hartland, Niagara and Pendleton in Niagara County; and Arcade and Covington in Wyoming County.

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Apex expects to submit applications to state in 2019 for projects in Orleans, Niagara

Photo by Tom Rivers: Dave Phillips, Apex Clean Energy’s vice president of environmental, speaks on Wednesday during an open house at Apex’s office on Main Street in Albion. About 50 people attended the 90-minute open house and were encouraged to ask environmental-related questions. About 50 people attended the open house.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 January 2019 at 1:05 pm

(UPDATED at 9:32 a.m. on Jan. 21 to report that Apex is planning 33 turbines in Barre, and not 47.)

ALBION – Apex Clean Energy is working to submit its applications this year to the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment.

The company expects to submit the application this spring for 33 turbines in Barre as part of Heritage Wind, said Paul Williamson, an Apex project manager.

The company also is working on Lighthouse Wind, a project that proposes 47 turbines with 8 in Yates and 39 in Somerset. Apex has been working on that project longer than the one in Barre, but still has some environmental studies to do this spring. Once the company has those results, it can make the final studies for its application, which it hopes to submit to the Siting Board in the summer, Williamson said.

Provided photo: This group was outside the Apex office on Wednesday, distributing information about environmental concerns with industrial-size turbines.

Those applications could take 18 months to 2 years to review and will be subject to public hearings. The company also has to provide intervenor funds for the local municipalities and citizens groups to hire experts to review the application.

The Siting Board includes five leaders of state agencies – the chairman of Department of Public Service, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, commissioner of the Department of Health, chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and commissioner of Economic Development. There are also two ad hoc public members from the municipality where the project is proposed.

Apex sent a news release earlier this week seeking to clarify comments from Ben Yazman, the Heritage Wind project manager. He was quoted in the Orleans Hub last week after the Barre Town Board opted not to change its zoning for wind turbines, keeping the maximum turbine height at 500 feet and also not changing the setbacks. Apex would like to have the turbines tip height peak at 591 feet in Barre. Yazman last week said the company would pursue a waiver for the height through the Siting Board.

“Like other interested parties, we were surprised by the board action, and we share the goal of updating the law to ensure that it is reasonable, clear and protective of the health and welfare of all Barre residents,” said Neil Habig, senior director of Project Development for Apex Clean Energy.

The 2008 wind ordinance was passed more than 10 years ago and does not reflects the state of the modern wind facilities and does not benefit from advances in siting standards that have developed over the past decade, he said.

The company would like Barre to revise the law. Apex hasn’t decided if it will pursue a waiver for height.

“We feel it is very important for us to correct that misstatement,” Habig said. “It is our strong preference to continue working with the Town and Clear Skies Above Barre to update the existing wind ordinance to reflect modern wind technology and siting standards. We recognize that siting a wind facility can be contentious and complex, and we are committed to ensuring that the Town Board has the necessary resources at its disposal to make informed decisions if they can be persuaded to reconsider the wind law wind ordinance.”

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100 attend Clear Skies meeting, with many leaving with anti-turbine signs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 January 2019 at 8:24 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – Dave and Rhonda Waters attended Saturday’s open house at the Barre Town Hall. They live on Root Road and are concerned about a proposal to have 47 nearly 600-foot-high wind turbines in town, including three near their house.

“I don’t see us staying in the Barre area if these are built,” Waters said at the open house which was put on by Clear Skies Above Barre.

About 100 people attended the event. The Waters moved from Eagle Harbor to Root Road about 12 years ago. They enjoy the peace and quiet of Barre.

The turbines would bring an “unsightliness,” Mr. Waters said. He also worries about the impact on town roads, fields and the environment in bringing in the huge pieces of metal to make the turbines and then their construction.

The Waters worry the local property values would fall with the turbines on the landscape, more than offsetting any reductions in property taxes.

Clear Skies Above Barre created this map of turbine location. The citizens group obtained lease information from the County Clerk’s Office to identify the locations.

Dave and Rhonda Waters live on Root Road and would have three turbines near their house.

This shows how one of the turbines would dwarf a house in the community.

Clear Skies also discussed other issues including environmental and health concerns with turbines, why a PILOT payment plan isn’t the best option for the community, the “character and fitness” of Apex, and asked residents to list pros of the project. (After an hour of the meeting, no one had written down a “pro” with the project.)

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue attended Saturday’s session by Clear Skies. He was happy to see so many people seeking information. He urged residents to attend an open house on Wednesday at the Heritage Wind office at 49 N. Main St. in Albion. The public is welcome to meet Dave Phillips, Apex Clean Energy’s vice president of environmental, at a dinner and open house on Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to ask environmental-related questions, and share feedback. Sandwiches and light refreshments will be provided.

“I’m glad to see people are coming out to hear their side,” Pogue said about the Clear Skies presentation. “There are two sides to every story and I would encourage them to also go to the Apex open house on Wednesday.”

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Clear Skies, Apex both have upcoming open houses to talk about project in Barre

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 January 2019 at 11:59 am

There are two upcoming open houses for the community to hear about a proposed wind energy project in Barre.

Apex Clan Energy is proposing 47 turbines in Barre that would be 591 feet at the highest tip height.

Clear Skies Above Barre has concerns about the environmental and public health impact of the turbines. Clear Skies will host open house at the Barre Town Hall on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Clear Skies will present a map of proposed turbine locations, and discuss other issues including environmental and health concerns with turbines, why a PILOT payment plan isn’t the best option for the community, “character and fitness” of Apex, and some pros of the project.

“Please join our community for pizza and conversations as we share our specific concerns about the proposed Industrial Turbines in the Town of Barre, Orleans County,” Clear Skies said in an announcement about the meeting at the Town Hall, 14317 West Barre Rd. “Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to swing by. It will be a laid-back event, so stop in anytime between 1-3 p.m.”

Apex also is hosting an open house at the Heritage Wind office at 49 N. Main St. in Albion. The public is welcome to meet Dave Phillips, Apex Clean Energy’s vice president of environmental, at a dinner and open house on Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to ask environmental-related questions, and share feedback. Sandwiches and light refreshments will be provided.

Phillips oversees environmental-related activities for Apex’s land-based wind and solar projects. He leads a coordinated effort with Apex’s project development, business development, and asset management teams to carefully select greenfield sites; support the environmental aspects of project operations, sales, and acquisitions; and bring projects to market that are fully compliant with state and federal regulations, Apex said.

Important aspects of Phillips’s role at Apex include overcoming permitting obstacles with respect to eagles and listed species and working proactively with consultants and regulators to find reasonable solutions for studies, impact avoidance, mitigation, and permitting when necessary.

He is a member of the board of the American Wind Wildlife Institute and serves on the Wind Wildlife Research Fund Advisory Council.

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Barre Town Board decides to let state determine turbine height, setbacks

Photos by Tom Rivers: Barre resident George McKenna speaks during Wednesday’s Town Board meeting. He urged the Town Board and community to push for the maximum benefits from a possible turbine project before Barre loses its leverage in negotiations. He was critical of the board for not insisting on bigger setbacks for the turbines. The board decided to let a state siting board determine what would be appropriate.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 January 2019 at 9:05 am

Citizens group angry that Barre officials declined to push for bigger turbine distances from houses, property lines

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue said the board has been inundated with documents, for and against the wind turbine project. The board decided it wouldn’t update the town’s zoning ordinance for wind energy projects that was adopted in 2008.

BARRE – Residents and Apex Clean Energy have been waiting for the town to decide how it will update its zoning ordinance for wind turbines, with the town setting parameters for turbine height, and setbacks from houses, property lines and roads.

The ordinance would also set rules for shadow flicker, noise and other environmental issues, as well as the decommissioning of the turbines.

Clear Skies Above Barre, a citizens group, submitted its recommendations to the town and many other residents also weighed in. Apex Clean Energy offered its suggestions.

The Town Board on Wednesday made its decision: the ordinance would remain unchanged from when it was passed in 2008. The board opted to have a State Siting Board decide what is appropriate for turbine heights, setbacks and the other environmental issues.

The resolution from the Town Board noted that Clear Skies and some citizens requested amendments to the town’s wind energy ordinance and Apex asked for opposing amendments. With the opposing views, as well as reams of information about issues with turbines, the Town Board will have the Siting Board be responsible for considering the different impacts.

Board members Richard Bennett, Tom McCabe, Lynn Hill and Sean Pogue voted in favor of the resolution, with Larry Gaylard abstaining because he has a lease with Apex.

Kerri Richardson, president of Clear Skies, told the board she is disappointed it didn’t bolster protections in the ordinance for residents. Clear Skies worked for many months on the issues, researching and working with a consultant to offer input for the board.

Kerri Richardson, president of Clear Skies Above Barre, said the Town Board has failed to protect residents with a proposed project that includes 47 wind turbines that would peak at 591 feet tall.

“It showed it reality it didn’t matter, the time and effort we have done to protect our neighbors, our children and the community,” Richardson said. “That’s infuriating.”

The town should have pushed to update the ordinance, especially because Apex is proposing turbines that are nearly 600 feet tall, which would be the largest on-land turbines in the United States, Richardson said.

“Town Board you have handed over the decision to the state,” she said. “You were elected to protect us. You just gave away the opportunity to protect our citizens.”

The seven-member Siting Board has five state representatives including the chairman of the Department of Public Service, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, commissioner of the Department of Health, chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the commissioner of Economic Development.

Two other ad hoc members from the local community will be on the board to review the project. One local resident has been appointed so far – Robin Nacca, who lives on Route 98. Her property is adjacent to land that has been leased for a possible turbine.

The town law from 2008 caps the turbine height at no more than 500 feet. That would be too small for Apex, which is proposing 47 turbines that would be 591 feet high, at maximum tip height.

Ben Yazman, the Apex project manager, said Apex will seek a waiver for the height through the Article 10 review process.

Yazman said Apex has met many times with town officials, offering suggestions for the town ordinance that he said would address local concerns. He wanted to avoid having the Siting Board decide turbine height, setbacks and many of the other issues, with the town instead reaching a decision.

The Barre turbines are planned to generate 4.2 megawatts per turbine, nearly triple the power from the models from a decade ago which were about 400 feet high.

Town Board member Richard Bennett said the board has been accused of not caring about the health and safety of residents. Bennett bristled at that suggestion and said the community will have plenty of opportunities to voice its concerns about the turbine project through the Article 10 process that the state.

Barre opted its wind ordinance in 2008 when a different developer was looking at the town for a project that didn’t end up materializing. Apex has proposed some revisions to the ordinance “to modernize the technological standards of the law,” Yazman has said.

Clear Skies pushed for farther setbacks than the current town law. The current ordinance says the turbines need a property line setback of at least 1.5 times the tip height. That is for the property lines where the turbine is located.

The current ordinance also says the turbines need to be at least 1,000 feet from any existing residential or commercial building.

Apex has agreed to 1,500 foot setbacks from residential buildings. Yazman also suggested 1.5 times the tip height for setbacks from property lines for non-participating property owners, or landowners without an Apex lease.

Clear Skies said the setbacks should be six times the turbine height. That would be at least 3,600 feet or more than a half mile for 600-foot-tall turbines.

She also said the minimum setbacks should be the same for all residents, with lease holders not having them closer to their houses. That way all residents have equal protection from infra-sound, shadow flicker, ground vibrations and other adverse effects, Richardson said.

Town Councilman Tom McCabe said the board has wrestled with the issue for over a year.

“Information has been inundated on us,” he said. “We’ve dug into it and it’s been a long drawn-out process to figure out what to do.”

Richardson acknowledged there are many conflicting reports and studies about turbines. Board members and residents need to thoroughly vet the information, and check to see a wind developer is funding favorable research.

“I’m not going to deny there are studies on both sides of the project and that’s what makes it difficult to decipher,” she told the board.

Town Board member Richard Bennett bristled at comments that the board was passing on its responsibilities for protecting the health and safety of residents. Bennett said there will be plenty of opportunities to weigh in on these issues through the Article 10 process.

“This isn’t over yet,” he said.

Vance Wyder, a resident of the nearby Tonawanda Indian Reservation, wears a headdress with eagle feathers. He holds an eagle feather that was sent to him from Colorado. Wyder said wildlife needs to be protected. “I know we need power,” he said. “But how do we incorporate it to protect the eagles?”

George McKenna, a Barre resident, said the board shouldn’t have made a decision about the ordinance until it had negotiated a community benefits package with Apex. The company has said the community will likely receive about $1.5 million in revenue to offset taxes.

McKenna said that is a low number for a 200-megawatt project. Barre should push for more money, but has lost some of its bargaining power with the decision on Wednesday.

“If you’re going to negotiate, negotiate while you have leverage,” he said.

Richardson, who is McKenna’s daughter, also said the town made a decision to soon on the ordinance.

“The $1.5 million is very minimal,” she said. “If we’re going to be benefitting, we need to be negotiating before we settled.”

She noted the $1.5 million wouldn’t all go to directly to Barre taxpayers. It will likely be split among the town, Albion school district and Orleans County.

John Metzler, a vocal critic of the turbine project, said the board should have a moratorium on any decisions about the proposed Heritage Wind until the town residents are all canvassed for their opinion on whether the project is good for Barre. He reiterated his concerns about the turbines’ effect on human health and local wildlife.

Iva McKenna told the board it could have easily followed suggestions from the World Health Organization about siting turbines. The board should have included assurances about property value guarantees in the ordinance.

“This community will be changed very dramatically by the pockets of a few,” she said.

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue acknowledged that lease holders will see the biggest financial benefit with the project. However, he said all Barre property owners should see a tax reduction if the project goes forward.

“As far as we’re concerned if that wind energy complex comes into town everyone who pays taxes will get a financial benefit,” Pogue said.

The board was asked how it came to its decision, to keep the wind ordinance unchanged because the board members haven’t publicly debated the issue among themselves. At Wednesday’s meeting, “Resolution #3” was on the agenda with no additional description. The board voted on it without discussion.

George McKenna said he was baffled why the town didn’t push for more distance from turbines to houses and property lines.

“If we could have only one thing it would be setbacks,” he said. “We want setbacks that protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents.”

During the meeting on Wednesday, Pogue asked Richardson how many of the 63 members of Clear Skies live in Barre. Richardson said 84 percent are Barre residents, 6 percent are land owners who didn’t live in Barre and another 10 percent are outside Barre.

Pogue asked to see the names of the Clear Skies members. He said Richardson has requested numerous documents from the town about the Apex project, including a review of postcards sent to the town in support of Heritage Wind.

“It works both ways,” Pogue told her. “How about fairness.”

Richardson said the Clear Skies members are all volunteers, and some have put their own funds into researching the project. Some members have requested anonymity because they fear retribution. She said she would reach out to the membership to see who is comfortable with their names being released to the Town Board.

Pogue said he just wants to be sure the group is comprised of Barre residents.

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