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Town to get look at rules for wind farms

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.

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