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NY town draft wind ordinance: easements from all residents within 6500 feet

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Litchfield NY is considering a relatively flexible, while stringent, local ordinance to govern construction of wind farms.  As proposed by a committee of residents charged by the Town Council, the ordinance would avoid strict setback or decibel limits, and instead require easements to be obtained from all residents within 6500 feet of a turbine (just under a mile and a quarter).

The proposed ordinance now goes to the Council for consideration, where some changes are expected to be made.  Involving all neighbors who may be affected by new wind turbines could be a very effective approach, as both studies and experience shows that when people are involved in the decision to move forward with a wind farm (and compensated financially, or feel shared ownership), they are far less likely to have negative reactions and experiences.  I’m sure that the distance at which easements are required will be a sticking point for all concerned; as proposed, it encompasses a large grey area (from roughly 3500-6500 feet) in which acoustic effects are likely to be minimal, yet possible a small proportion of the time.  If the easements don’t effectively become vetoes, it’s quite likely that being involved in the decision could play a key role in this range.  Closer than a half mile or so, the proposed easements may well be sometimes used as a veto, as at least a few residents are apt to feel that the risk of noise issues is not outweighed by financial benefits in the project.  Still, the easement approach has many benefits over a strict decibel or setback limit, assuring that the developer is engaged with everyone who may be affected by the project.

2 Responses to “NY town draft wind ordinance: easements from all residents within 6500 feet”

  1. Rural Grubby Says:

    The central argument against wind turbines in this debate is simple and devastating: they don’t work!

    — They will not solve our energy issues (e.g. they don’t reduce our dependence on imported oil).

    — They will not solve our environmental problems (e.g. they don’t consequentially reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions).

    — They are not a substitute for conventional energy sources (e.g. because they are not reliable, have no Capacity Value, are much more expensive, etc.).

    Suggesting that if people had real input and get financial dispensation on these projects ignores completely what the argument is all about. If the truth were revealed and stakeholders were allowed to make up their own minds the wind industry would be GONE!! But we all know that is not going to happen because of the large sums of money wind energy represents for the few number of speculators willing to make a fast buck off the backs of the country’s taxpayers.

  2. aeinews Says:

    There are of course many factors to consider in our choices as we create a new energy mix. Here at AEI, I stay focused on the acoustic aspects, since that’s my area of knowledge and expertise. The larger question of the viability of the technology is an important one, but not the focus on this site; I’m not “ignoring” that “argument”, but simply staying true to AEI’s mission by contributing to the dialogue about the noise impacts.