Avangrid says Hopkinton wind farm likely cannot move forward if proposed wind law passes
By MATT LINDSEY
HOPKINTON — Wind developers have their doubts that the North Ridge Wind Farm will be built if the wind law proposed by Hopkinton town officials passes.
Speaking at the public hearing March 28, Avangrid Renewables Lead Senior Business Developer Scott Mcdonald said that the project cannot move forward with the sound and setback limits proposed in the current law.“It was mentioned to me awhile back that they didn't think a project would work with the lower sound limits,” Hopkinton Town Supervisor Sue Wood said.
Avangrid plans to build 27 turbines on land in Hopkinton. They previously had plans to build in nearby Parishville, but have since pulled out.
A full house of local residents attended a public hearing Wednesday night at the town hall to voice their opinions on the proposed wind law that would regulate a 27-tower wind farm being planned by Avangrid Renewables.
“As it was a public hearing to give the public one last chance to be heard, the board did not make any decisions or have discussions,” Wood said.
Wood said 42 people spoke about the wind farm, and an email was read from Parishville Town Supervisor Rodney Votra.
“Everyone was given an opportunity to speak to at least once, with some speaking again after everyone was given a chance,” Wood said.
Ten emails were received the day of the public hearing, 9 for the proposed wind law and one against it, she said. Correspondence from Young/Sommer LLC, Avangrid's legal representatives, was handed in at the meeting and a letter from Frank Potenzano was submitted. “An additional 42 people handed in a note saying they were in full support of passing the proposed 2018 wind law as written,” Wood said.
Proposed Wind Law
The proposed law calls for a maximum height of 500 feet from original grade site to uppermost top of the blade at its highest position. Setbacks would be five times the total height of the turbine from the nearest non-participating property line, public road, edge of wind overlay zone, registered historical sight or Adirondack Park Agency boundary.
Noise standards would call for 40 dBA to the nearest non-participating property line, school, hospital, place of worship, or public building at the time of application.
The law was created by the Wind Advisory Board. Following much discussion, it was agreed that a vote would be held to approve the law.
Construction time would be from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday with exceptions at project component sites and with approval from the town code enforcement officer.
The law includes a Real Property Value Protection Agreement that provides assurance that there will be no loss in real property value within one mile of each turbine within the project, but only for non-participating real property owners and within five years of the project becoming operational.
April Vote Possible
The plan is to have the vote on the agenda for the April meeting.
Hopkinton Town Councilman Gilbert Sochia, who was abstaining from wind-related voting and discussion, says he will vote on the wind law.
Sochia was abstaining because a close member of his family is a leaseholder with wind developers, Avangrid Renewables.
He asked to speak before the town board at a meeting March 19 and told the crowd, council members and Supervisor Wood that he will be voting on the proposed wind law.
Wood said that the town attorney, Roger Linden, told her that Sochia was not able to vote due to ethical reasons. Sochia countered that his lawyers, Pease & Gustafson, claim he is eligible to vote on the wind law.
“Gilbert did not speak last evening but did sit with the town board," Wood said. “I have reached out to three attorneys and the Association of Towns and (they) all agree it is a conflict of interest for him to vote.”
Wood said she will leave the final decision to be worked out between the town attorney and Sochia's attorney.
Sochia and council member Steve Parker have shown support the project, with Parker saying he believes the law is too restrictive.
Wood and councilmember Kelly Pullano have expressed their concerns about the wind farm.
Council member Sue Lyon could be the deciding vote if Sochia votes and it is determined to be official.