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Public Hearing – January 8, 2014

A public hearing of the Town Board of the Town of Homer on the proposed wind energy local law held on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, in the board room of the Town Hall building was called to order by Supervisor Frederick J. Forbes at 6:00 p.m.

PRESENT

             Frederick J. Forbes, Supervisor

             Barry E. Warren, Councilman

             Dan A. Weddle, Councilman

             Kevin M. Williams, Councilman

            Brian D. Young, Councilman

             Patrick M. Snyder, Attorney for the Town

            Anita W. Jebbett, Town Clerk

OTHERS PRESENT

             Victoria Monty, Attorney for the Wind Energy Committee

            Victor Siegle, Wind Energy Committee, 75 S. Main Street, Homer

            Ann Siegle, 75 S. Main Street, Homer

            Janet Steck, 113 Clinton Street, Homer

             Gordon Wheelock, Cortland County legislator, 11 Nixon Ave., Homer

            Mary Heider, 4378 Syrian Hill Road, McGraw

            Michael Barylski, 2616 Ames Road, Cortlandville

            Bob Beard, 4615 Streeter Road, Cortlandville

            Steven Moffitt, 4500 North Road, McGraw

            Ronal L. Rocco, Town of Cortlandville legislator, 716 Bowling Green

            Shelly White, 2697 Parks Road, Homer

            Kimberly Harris, Town of Truxton resident

            Newell Willcox, 5448 Route 281, Homer

            Randy Young, 3185 E. River Road, Truxton 

            Mark & Rowan Travis, 5404 Route 41, Homer

Supervisor Forbes read the legal notice regarding the wind energy facilities local law (attached).

            Victor Siegle, Wind Power Committee member, asked that anyone who had written comments also submit them to the Town Clerk electronically.

            Janet Steck, Village resident, submitted her written comments and said that she would also email them.  She explained to the Town Board that her opposition to the TCI proposed wind energy project came about only after she heard a presentation by TCI about two years ago at the County Office Building.  Prior to hearing their presentation, she was in favor of wind energy.

            She said that two issues are her main concerns:  1. the provision of safe setback distances from property lines, and 2. the requirement that wind power developers provide property value guarantees to non-participating property owners.  

            Steck said that both she and her husband, Henry, who was unable to attend, are satisfied with the setback of 3,280 contained in the proposed local law and pleased that it is the same as that of the Towns of Cortlandville and Truxton.  

            She said that it was the responsibility of the Town to reduce the risk to property owners and that a provision for property value guarantees should be added to the local law.  She thanked the Town Board for their consideration.

            Michael Barylski, Cortlandville resident, thanked the Town Board for establishing an open process.  He also thanked the Wind Committee and Attorney Victoria Monty for their openness and willingness to engage the public.  He said that with this new law Homer strikes a balance and that it makes for continuity across Town lines.  

            He reiterated the concern of Mrs. Steck regarding guarantees for property values.  According to research he had done, the County could possibly lose 10-15% of the value of the properties involved or $2.8 to 4.2 million.

            Barylski also recommended that the Town include a fee structure in the local law, instead of adopting it by resolution.  He thanked the Board for their consideration.

            Ron Rocco, a Town of Cortlandville board member, thanked the Town Board for the opportunity just to listen to the public comment.

            Gordon Wheelock, County legislator, said that at a meeting last month the County decided not to allow any wind turbines on the County-owned property at the Landfill.  Also, he said that the County was no longer lead agency.

            Shelly White, a Town of Homer resident, said that after speaking with residents in areas with wind turbines, she became concerned about the ill effects of being in proximity to the turbines.  Some of the ill effects that she mentioned were noise, vibration, and shadow flicker.  She said that she lives where she does because of the beautiful view and would like to keep it that way.  She was also concerned about the traffic that would be on her road during the construction phase and about property values. White thanked the Board and said that she also found the 3280-foot setback to be acceptable.

            Randy Young, a Town of Truxton resident, thanked the Board and the Wind Committee and said that he knows that it takes extraordinary amount of time and effort to participate on such a committee.  He pointed out two sections within the law that he thought could be improved upon and agreed to email the information. He said that he believed that the 3280-foot setback is both reasonable and defendable and congratulated the Board and Committee for doing a good job.

            Victor Siegle submitted written comments from Lee Miller, Attorney for the Village of McGraw (on file).

            Supervisor Forbes explained that the Cortland County Planning Board will be considering the Town’s proposed local law at its January 15th meeting, after which the Wind Committee will meet again to consider any recommendations that the Planning Board may have made.  Forbes said that the earliest the Town would vote on the local law would be at their February 5th board meeting.

            In response to a question Attorney Monty said that the comments submitted to the Town Board would only be considered by the County Planning Board if they are submitted directly to them.  Also in response to a question, Supervisor Forbes said that any further meetings of the Wind Committee would absolutely be open to the public.

            Bob Beard, a Cortlandville resident, thanked the Town Board for including in their local law the 3280 –foot setback, saying that by doing so they were protecting the people, which is what they should be doing.  He also encouraged them to add property value guarantees.

As there were no further questions or comments, the public hearing was adjourned at 6:35 p.m.

                                                                                                Anita W. Jebbett

                                                                                                Town Clerk