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Lyme prepares to pass new restrictions on wind turbines; public hearing, council vote set for Aug. 11

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CHAUMONT — The town of Lyme soon will make public its draft wind zoning law introducing tougher restrictions on turbines.

A public hearing and a special Town Council meeting to vote on the proposed law have been scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 11 at the Three Mile Bay Fire Hall, 8581 Route 12E. The special meeting will be held immediately after the hearing is closed.

Lyme Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said the draft document will be posted on the town’s website and a copy will be made available at the municipal offices, Route 12E, early next week.

Grounded on a recent survey that found that a majority of Lyme residents were against wind energy development, the proposed law requires a half-mile turbine setback from roads, town boundaries and from non-participating property lines.

Among other restrictions, the proposal also prohibits wind turbines within two miles of Lake Ontario, Chaumont Bay and the Chaumont River.

The draft law also introduces new noise limits on turbine generators.

A-weighted, audible spectrum noise limits proposed are:

n Daytime (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), 30 dB

n Nighttime (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.), 35 dB

The C-weighted, or low-frequency, noise limit will be 18 dB over the A-weighted limit.

Mr. Aubertine said the town’s Planning Board and attorney — assisted by the Jefferson County Planning Board — spent numerous hours to complete the comprehensive and detailed set of restrictions.

“They did a good job meeting the people’s wishes,” Mr. Aubertine said, referring to a townwide survey that found 64 percent of Lyme residents in opposition of turbines.

The neighboring town of Cape Vincent also plans to pass at an Aug. 1 special meeting a new, restrictive wind law that would leave little room for commercial wind turbines.

But some wind proponents believe that efforts to discourage development through strict local zoning laws will backfire.

Julia E. Gosier, a town of Lyme resident and an outspoken supporter of wind development, said strict local restrictions likely will force wind developers to submit an application to a state siting board under Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act — which regulates the siting of electrical energy-generation facilities of more than 25 megawatts.

“The setbacks and restrictions in the proposed law would unquestionably force any company interested in putting wind turbines in Lyme to work with Article X,” she said. “Cape Vincent and Lyme both are putting the welcome mat out for the state Article X siting board.”

BP Wind Energy — developer of the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm — recently confirmed that it hopes to bypass strict local restrictions and expedite the approval of its Cape Vincent Wind Farm by seeking the 12-month Article X process.

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