FARMERSVILLE — The Farmersville Town Board approved tentative changes in its local wind turbine law Monday night.
The changes, adopted during a work session on the wind turbine law, involved increasing the distance from tower to a residence and decreasing the decibels allowed.
It’s not clear whether another open work session will be needed before the town board votes to set a public hearing on the revised local law, Supervisor Thomas Karcher said as the meeting concluded.
Councilman Richard Zink proposed a series of revisions in the town’s existing wind turbine law.
One would increase the distance from a tower to a property line from 1.2 times the height of the tower to 2,200 feet. This could result in fewer sites being eligible in the town and a corresponding decrease in both host community funding and payment in lieu of taxes (P.I.L.O.T.).
Invenergy, the Chicago-based energy company that proposed the $584 million Alle-Catt Wind Farm, said the town of Farmersville would get $350,000 in P.I.L.O.T. and host community fees a year. The Franklinville Central School District would get a $100,000 P.I.L.O.T. and Pioneer Central School would get $330,000.
The second change Zink proposed that the board adopted decreased the decibel level at a residence from 50 dbl to 42 dbl. He also proposed twice a year noise tests.
Invenergy spokesman Eric Miller said the company was looking at a 3.6 megawatt General Electric turbine. They generate noise in the range of 45 to 48 dbl.
He said it appeared that the setback the board was considering, 2,200 feet, was larger than necessary. Noise levels are a better measure of setback, Miller said.
“You need to worry about the health and safety of the people,” one woman told the board.
Zink also proposed using some of the intervenor funds available to the town under the proposed wind turbine project to formally survey town residents.
A local group formed in opposition to the wind farm, Farmersville United, has sought a greater setback and stricter noise limits than in the model law being considered in the town of Freedom.
One member of the audience asked about a board member leasing his property for a wind turbine, referring to Councilman Richard Westfall.
“He can’t vote. He does have a windmill,” Karcher said.
Councilman Andrew Warner raised a question about the decommissioning of the wind turbines after their useful lifetime. The local law calls for excavating tower foundations to three feet below the surface. He thought it should be deeper.
Karcher said, “We’re going to do some more research. I think we’re going to have to have one more work session. We’re going to have a public hearing” before voting on any revised wind turbine law.
The board could vote at its June 18 meeting to conduct a public hearing on the proposed law.
Asked about the impact of the changes in the proposed wind turbine law, Invenergy representative Miller declined to comment.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)