Yates official says local law opposing industrial wind turbines protects rural character of community
Press Release, Town of Yates
YATES – The Yates Town Board amended its Wind Energy Facilities Law on Feb. 8, part of its ongoing effort opposing plans by Lighthouse Wind to install as many as 71 industrial wind turbines along shoreline communities in Orleans and Niagara counties.
“Since the Lighthouse Wind project was introduced in 2014, the Town Board has worked to learn as much as possible about the impacts and benefits of these industrial-scale projects,” said Town Supervisor Jim Simon. “The amendments reflect that continuing effort, and in particular, the recommendations of two agencies well-placed to balance impacts and benefits.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends no wind turbines within three miles of the Lake Ontario shoreline for the Town of Yates in order to avoid possible severe impact on avian flyways and habitat, and the Vermont Public Service Board recommends turbine setback distances at residences such that, “…each turbine and any sound producing equipment located within the footprint of the turbine array shall be set back horizontally no less than ten times the turbine’s height as measured from the base to the tip of a blade in the upright vertical position.”
Additionally, the Town of Yates has performed an exhaustive, two-year setback study which has provided a statistical validation of the proposed setbacks.
“The Lighthouse Wind proposal for the Town of Yates is not appropriately sited,” Simon said. “It does not protect and accommodate the concerns of the town, and is most definitely not consistent with all local laws and ordinances.”
The Town Board also unanimously approved a resolution on Feb. 8 reaffirming their formal opposition to the Lighthouse Wind project within the Town of Yates citing concerns about how the proposal would circumvent local control for siting large-scale industrial projects; how the project would create significant negative visual impacts from aesthetic points in the community and region; how the noise impacts in the current rural area would, based on World Health Organization standards and those recently adopted by the State of Vermont, negatively impact the health and the quality of life of residents.
In addition the Town Board said the proposed turbine project would introduce new hazards such as shadow flicker, ice shedding and blade throw; the project would present risks to the property values of adjoining property owners not part of the project; avian flyways and habitats and bat populations may be severely impacted as documented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the unacceptable possibility of encroachment on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station could jeopardize operational mission effectiveness and make the air base subject to closure in the next Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC); and there are significant wetland and other surface and sub-surface hydrological resources that would be negatively impacted by the large-scale terrain modification required for the project.
“We are called to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens for current and future generations and to preserve the rural, agricultural and leisure-based character of our community,” Simon said.