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Law to allow wind farm development

The Town Board will meet with lawyers later this week to draft a local law permitting wind farm development by Noble Environmental.

Supervisor Fritz Zuech invited board members to the work session during a reorganizational meeting Monday night.

Town Attorney James McAuley and lawyers from Hodgson Russ who are familiar with wind farm development will meet with board members at 7 p.m. Thursday to guide them through the process with the Essex, Conn., power company.

Councilman Mark Rose commented that he was "dumbfounded and shocked" when Noble officials attended a board meeting last summer and requested permission to erect meteorological test towers and scout for potential turbine location sites in preparation for a possible development of 30 to 60 wind turbines.

Company representative Brad King returned Dec. 12 to make a formal presentation.

Rose complained that only some board members were told of the proposal, but Zuech denied that.

"Why do we leave ourselves open for a situation to develop? Anybody can walk through that door and get anything they want," said Rose, asking why a draft zoning ordinance had been on the shelf since last October without board review or discussion.

"My personal feelings -- and [Deputy Supervisor Joe Brodka and Councilman Bill Kozak] feel the same way -- it's something we didn't want for our town. I didn't vote for it. I didn't initiate it," Zuech said.

About a dozen residents attended the meeting. One man asked where the wind towers would be built.

Board members said Noble representatives, working from an office in Arcade, are meeting with landowners to obtain about 100 leases, and company workers have set up a test tower on Pigeon Hill.

Other construction around the area is unrelated, they said, and Rose cautioned all residents not to sign contracts without legal advice.

Zuech said lawyers who have reviewed Noble's contracts have found the documents are favorable for both the company and landowners.

The board also discussed possible revisions to permit fees associated with building regulations. That subject also will be addressed during the Thursday night work session.

During the reorganizational agenda, board members agreed to keep the mileage reimbursement rate at 28 cents per mile and continue meeting at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month.

Several changes were made to the roster of officials who perform services for the town: McAuley replaces former Town Attorney Donald Swanz, while Anthony DiFilippo will continue as environmental attorney. Alan Fish replaces former Code Enforcement Officer Russ Hatch.

Stan Fox replaces former Deputy Highway Superintendent Carl Fridman, and Millard Brown was chosen to replace Jim Warner on the Board of Assessment Review.

The position of constable will remain vacant.

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