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Spafford residents speak against turbines

Spafford residents speak out

More than 50 attend public hearing on proposed wind turbines

By Abbey Woodcock

"The law needs to be more specific," was the general sentiment at the standing-room -only public hearing in Spafford where concerned residents, television cameras and others gathered Thursday to comment on the proposed wind turbine regulations.

Town supervisor Webb Stevens opened the meeting by saying the proposed regulations were for personal use only, as there are four pending applications for the construction of personal turbines and the planning board has no regulations to guide them. He said that the board was not prepared to discuss commercial turbines and asked those that wanted to speak to keep their comments to small, personal turbines.

This remark was all but ignored as residents voiced concerns that allowing small turbines would open the door to large, commercial wind farms.

The proposed laws do not contain any language identifying the turbines as "personal" or "small" and did not limit the turbines' height or power output.

Sandra Weigel of Bacon Hill Road opened the public comment period by asking the board the height and power output of the turbines. Stevens answered that they weren't expecting any to be constructed more than 10 kilowatts and that most would be in between 1.3 and 5 kilowatts. Weigel asked where in the regulations that was stated.

"We're not protected," she said. She continued that the regulations were not clear enough and that they needed to have specific numbers to protect the area from large commercial wind turbines.

"The vague nature of this law is opening the door for them to put an industrial wind farm on their property," she said, referring to Feskos, who have expressed an interest in wind energy.

Niether Chris Fesko nor her husband Rick were present at the meeting, an absence explained by Stevens as a 'devastating family loss.'

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