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Wind energy foes urge Lyndonville School Board to be wary of project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 February 2015 at 12:00 am

LYNDONVILLE – The 60 to 68 wind turbines that could be built in the towns of Yates and Somerset could be lucrative to the community, with annual payments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps more.

But local officials should look beyond that short-term windfall, the Lyndonville Board of Education was told on Monday by members of Save Ontario Shores, a group of property owners that has formed to oppose the project.

Apex Clean Energy would like to build the wind turbines in Yates and Somerset, and the structures would tower nearly 550 feet in the two rural lakeshore towns. In Yates, the turbines are eyed for the northwest quadrant of the town.

John Riggi is president of the S.O.S. He also recently moved to the Lyndonville community from Caledonia-Mumford.

“We are not in favor of these things,” he told the Board of Education.

He thinks the community would see tax assessments drop in the 8-square-mile area of the turbines, and that drop in assessments would shift more tax burden to other property owners in the community, Riggi said.

“The message is please take the time to educate yourselves,” Riggi told the board.

Glenn Maid, another local resident, also opposes the wind turbine project, saying the mammoth turbines have negative impacts on the landscape, wildlife, and nearby homeowners’ quality of life.

“I love living in Lyndonville,” Maid said. “I love small-town America. I love the parades.”

The large turbines don’t fit in such a small community, Maid said.

“Learn about the magnitude of the project and what it could do to the community,” Maid told the board.

Apex is currently doing the public outreach phase of the project. It had an open house in Lyndonville on Dec. 9 at the Yates Town Hall.

The projects would bring the prospect of significant revenue to the towns, school districts and Orleans and Niagara counties, while also paying landowners to have the turbines on their land.

“Both the landowners and towns stand to profit,” Taylor Quarles, development manager for Apex, said on Dec. 9.

“Lighthouse Wind” would generate 200 megawatts of power, enough to power 53,000 homes. Each turbine would generate about 3 megawatts of power, up from the 1.5 to 1.8 megawatts with turbines about a decade ago.

Maid said the projects are heavily subsidized by the state and federal governments. If they’re built in Yates and Somerset, residents in the cluster of turbines could see their property values go down, forcing others to pick up the difference in tax load, Maid said, thereby resulting in locals subsidizing the project as well.

“They don’t have an interest in living here,” Maid said about Apex. “They just want to make money.”