Town officials may be able to review a wind ordinance by as early as next week.
Members of the Pomfret Planning Board on Wednesday night heard from attorney Daniel Spitzer, a wind power expert, who was hired to design the law governing the development of so-called wind farms that would be proposed for the town.
"We can probably have a wind ordinance draft to you by Monday," said Spitzer, affiliated with the Buffalo law firm of Hodgson Russ.
The Town Board hired Spitzer to help finalize the wind-energy ordinance.
The Planning Board will review the draft and make proposed revisions or additions. The Town Board will give final approval to the law following a public hearing.
"We will provide the framework for the ordinance," Spitzer said. "The town will have to fill in its community values" to define what residents will deem acceptable as a wind farm, he said.
Spitzer said community values will determine the issue of setbacks for wind towers -- typically 1,000 to 2,000 feet from property lines or the nearest residence from the wind project.
Setbacks, he said, can be relative to a community's level of development, whether it's more urban or more rural.
Spitzer said 50 decibels can be used as a defining level for noise from wind turbines.
Spitzer also suggested that town officials adopt a municipal home rule law, which gives the town the most authority on wind farms.
"Even when the town receives an application for a wind project, you'll then have the authority whether to approve individual tower sites," he said.
Town officials envision a section of the town zoned agricultural-residential for wind farm development.
Town Planning Board member Gail Clark noted, "That's a good chunk of the town."
Spitzer also spoke to the board about negotiating with wind energy companies to get the deal most beneficial to the town.