Opinion: Proposed wind law is not too restrictive, says Parishville resident
To the Editor:
As a member of Concerned Citizens for Rural Preservation, I would like to respond to “Town is Getting Screwed Over by Council Members,” which appeared in April 4-10 issue of North Country This Week.As one of the volunteers who has been visiting people who live or own property in Parishville and Hopkinton, I absolutely defend the validity of all of the petitions, including the one against expansion of the proposed wind project to the area South of State Route 72. Every one of those signatures are genuine, each and every one lives and/or owns property in Hopkinton South of State Route 72, and have the absolute right to tell the Town Board how they feel on this issue.
Supervisor Susan Wood responded to these accusations and attacks a month ago. She can do the numbers and realizes that 151 people not wanting turbines South of State Route 72 is more than the dozen that do. We made it clear that not all 151 individuals live there year round; however, the do pay taxes. Only 2 or 3 leaseholders actually live South of State Route 72.
Not "all the households in Hopkinton" will benefit from the electric bill offset program. The fine print says "residents" first, but then says "for example, a landowner." Their letter did not specify renters. It further stated "permanent residents," not seasonal residents. The offer excludes anyone with an agreement for leases, transmission, or a wind project neighbor agreement. Of course, it also excludes our Amish neighbors and those who are not connected to the grid. Therefore, not all households will benefit. Furthermore, with no signed agreement, only an “opt “in form, how can you be sure this program will actually take place? Should Iberdrola sell the project to another developer, who is to say they will honor this offer?
"They don't want the town to have the money." CCRP members are the ones pointing out that Hopkinton would receive much more money if the developer were required to pay taxes based on the full value of their property instead of allowing them to tell the town how much they are WILLING to pay. Remember, PILOT agreements are generally only 15-20% of what full value taxation would be.
We are advocating for adoption of the 2018 proposed wind law and overlay zone with no expansion. This law seeks to protect all households in Hopkinton from the myriad problems that industrial wind projects have caused elsewhere. The developer and leaseholders label it as "flawed" only because it does not meet their desires. In fact, it is not nearly as restrictive as laws passed in other locations.