Hopkinton town board passes wind tower overlay, subject to hearing and vote
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 2:37 pm

By MATT LINDSEY

HOPKINTON -- The Hopkinton Town Board has agreed to expand a wind overlay zone that would see 500-foot wind towers placed closer to the Adirondack Park, subject to a hearing and a vote.

In April, the Hopkinton Wind Advisory Board suggested that the overlay zone not be expanded, but the St. Lawrence County Planning Board and two town councilmen suggested that the wind overlay zone and setbacks may be too restrictive

The Hopkinton board decided to keep the sound decibel limit for the noise the wind towers can produce at 40 decibels. Town councilmen Steve Parker and Greg Crump wanted to see the sound decibel limit increase from 40 to 45 decibels.

The board also agreed to keep the setbacks for which towers can be placed at five times the height of the tower, which would be approximately 2,500 feet. That setback is from the property line of a non-participating landowner and from the foundation of a property owner.

“We agreed to proceed with a public hearing,” Hopkinton Town Supervisor Susan Wood said.

The meeting will take place Aug. 21 at 7 p.m., preceding the regularly scheduled meeting. The public is welcome to comment on the proposals.

Town council members cannot vote on the proposals until the public hearing is held.

Crump, who had been abstaining from voting due to a conflict of interest, is now able to vote following a change in the town’s ethics law last month, Wood said.

Gilbert Sochia will continue to abstain because a close member of his family is a leaseholder with wind project developer Avangrid, Wood said.

Other town council members are Sue Lyon and Steve Parker.

Meanwhile, the Parishville Town Board passed a wind law last month consistent with Hopkinton’s regarding setbacks, but which is more restrictive over sound. The local law for sound is to be at 45 decibels or below from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and 35 decibels from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. from a participating landowners residence.

Parishville lawmakers also have said they do not want a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT). The St. Lawrence County Planning Board initially made the same statement, but have since tabled a wind PILOT proposal while more information is gathered by legislators.