Town of Hopkinton passes wind turbine moratorium; councilman does not believe it will make a difference
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 9:05 am

Update: Story corrected at 9:45 a.m. to correct the name of a voter from the meeting and to include a quote from Town Supervisor Susan Wood. NorthCountryNow.com regrets the error.

By MATT LINDSEY

HOPKINTON — The Town of Hopkinton passed a moratorium on proposed wind turbines at a town board meeting March 20.

The moratorium was passed with a 2-1 vote, according to Town Councilman Steve Parker Jr.

Town council member Susan Lyon and Town Supervisor Susan Wood voted in favor while Parker voted against the moratorium.

Avangrid Renewable plans to erect 40 wind towers that are about 500 feet high on land in Hopkinton and Parishville.

Parker said two people abstained from the vote.

“The town supervisor only had a draft so she will get it to the clerk who will get it ready for review and to make official at the next meeting,” he said.

The moratorium is not official yet, according to Wood. She said she had emailed a lawyer and was awaiting answers. The moratorium will be discussed further at the next town board meeting April 10 at the town hall.

Meanwhile, the Town of Parishville voted down a moratorium March 10 despite concerns from locals. The unanimous vote came after community members spoke out against the proposed which have divided the community.

Parker was unsure if the moratorium would come at a cost to the Town of Hopkinton.

The moratorium would give more time for studies to be completed and information to be collected about wind towers.

Parker said it was the other council members “beliefs” that a moratorium would “buy the town some time” to further research the wind farm.

Parker disagreed with those feelings saying that “with the Article 10 process moving forward a moratorium would do no good.”

He said his understanding is that Article 10 would override local laws pertaining to renewable energy.

Large wind projects with a capacity to generate 25 megawatts (MW) or more are reviewed according to provisions of the Public Service Law Article 10 siting process.

Article 10 provides a review and approval process for major electric generating facilities in New York State by addressing state and local permitting requirements in a single process. It includes environmental justice and environmental and health requirements and ensures broad public involvement opportunities throughout the process.

Article 10 makes funds available to local municipalities through an Intervenor Fund so the community affected by the proposed plant can hire experts and lawyers and requires the creation of a Public Involvement Plan, summarizing project efforts to educate, inform, and involve the public in the permitting process.

The five stages of the Article 10 process are pre-application, application, administrative hearings, siting board decision and compliance.

Avangrid Renewable spokesperson Paul N. Copleman said benefits of wind towers include creating jobs and providing revenue for landowners and the rest of the community.

Based on projects in the past, Copleman believes the wind towers would lead to six permanent jobs and about 125 construction jobs likely lasting 12 to 18 months.

Copleman says revenue for landowners and farmers could be $500,000 and around $750,000 for the community.