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Sun., Aug. 30
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Henderson ZBA tables decision on private wind turbine


HENDERSON — A decision on whether to allow the construction of a private wind turbine on a farm has been tabled by the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

Board members said the application to approve a variance for the 10-kilowatt wind turbine generator, which will be at 11375 Whitney Road, was incomplete and raised several issues that need to be resolved.

The property, owned by Harvey and Sue Grimshaw, falls in the town’s Agricultural District 3.

Sherret E. Chase, president of Chase Construction Management Inc. and contractor for the project, argued that the placement of the approximately 150-foot-tall turbine was a part of the Grimshaws’ right to farm.

Mr. Chase also argued that as an agricultural project, the turbine didn’t require many certifications outlined by the board, such as an environmental assessment form from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. He added that the lack of a gearbox would reduce the amount of sound the turbine would produce.

The subject of wind towers has been a point of fierce debate in the town. In November 2010, the Town Council voted to ban all commercial and private wind-energy towers.

Boardmember Robert E. Aliasso said the agriculture laws Mr. Chase pointed out that would appear to allow the project did not mesh with the town’s laws and zoning rules.

“It’s a terrible thing ... but that’s what we have,” Mr. Aliasso said.

Mr. Aliasso said the board would need more information before a decision could be made. “Nobody wins if we do it quickly,” he said.

Members of the ZBA asked for more clarification on the visual and audio impact of the turbine, along with its potential effect on local wildlife.

David B. Crandall asked Mr. Chase for outside data or experts to back up his claims on the turbine’s low impact. “We ought to be entitled to know how you made those determinations,” Mr. Crandall said.

Mr. Chase said the board’s requests would require outside experts, which would add unnecessary costs.

The board said it would continue the conversation at its next meeting, at 7 p.m. May 16. The board asked for Mr. Chase to prepare a short-form environmental assessment for the meeting.

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