Meeting attendance would clarify matters

Staff reports

To the Editor,

The Prattsburgh Zoning Commission assigned tasks were to review the Comprehensive Plan and suggest possible land use laws to the Town Board. Our proposed laws had to have some basis for establishing them. In doing research a document was discovered where Ecogen had hired researchers at the University of California Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory to conduct a risk analysis of the wind turbine projects in Italy Valley and Prattsburgh. The study references 1.5MW turbines and identified a risk area of 370 meters or slightly over 1200 feet. Another document by a turbine manufacturer identified a “hard hat” area of 1200 feet. Using this as a guide the Zoning Commission agreed upon a setback of 1100 feet from property lines. The recommendations for decibels levels follow the DEC recommendations. After reviewing the recommendations regarding industrial wind regulations and after legal counsel the Board decided to use the mathematical formula used in the Berkeley study versus a specific setback. Therefore the setback would vary based on the height of the turbine. This would protect both developers as well as property owners.

Some minor additions regarding land use were included in an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. The concern of the present Town Board focuses on the fact that there was never Town Board action to appoint the members to the original Comprehensive Planning Committee and therefore it could be argued that the document was invalid.

After a public hearing the Zoning Commission voted unanimously to forward the proposed laws and amendments to the Town Board. The public hearing scheduled for December 19th is not for the approval of a new Comprehensive Plan but rather to officially approve the document with minor changes. All of the Zoning Commission meetings were open to the public.

Carl M. Wahlstrom

Deputy Chair – Town of Prattsburgh Zoning Commission

Symonds Trail

Prattsburgh, NY