Spafford passes windwill law

After an hour-long public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 14, the Spafford town board unanimously approved a local law approving the erection of residential windmills.

Residents filled the Spafford Town Hall meeting room to speak their minds on the town's proposed regulation, a law that had already seen some revision. Many of those in attendance were in favor of the law.

"Windmills seem to have generated a lot of public interest," said Supervisor Webb Stevens at the beginning of the public hearing.

According to Stevens, following the first hearing, there were concerns about some of the wording in the proposed law allowing windmills for personal use. Added to the text of the law is that if a windmill "is not usable for a 12-month period it needs to be torn down and turned back to green," Stevens said.

There is a 60-foot height limit written into the law. However, if residents feel they need a windmill taller than the allowed height, they have the option to go before the zoning board of appeals to request permission and explain the reasons for a windmill taller than 60 feet.

Phil Peterson, a licensed engineer who lives on Nunnery Road, addressed the board, telling them, "I think what you're doing here is commendable."

According to Peterson, the 40 decibel limit the town has written into the law is "pretty quiet."

"I think when the wind blows my trees make more noise," he said.

While a majority of the crowd was in favor of the law, some residents expressed concern for the number of decibels the windmills will make and wording in the revised law regarding parcels of property.

Resident Frank Moran took issue with the decibel level as it is written in the local law.

"From what I've read, I think 30 decibels is what they recommend," Moran said.

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