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Panel OKs wind farm

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LOWVILLE — The Lewis County Planning Board on Monday night signed off on plans for the 39-turbine Roaring Brook wind farm project in the town of Martinsburg.

Board members voted 4-0 to approve the proposed 78-megawatt project, with several recommendations to the Martinsburg town Planning Board. County Planning Board member and Legislator Richard C. Lucas, R-Barnes Corners, abstained.

The county Planning Board's recommendations include:

n Requiring additional information on location and construction of a proposed 4,000-square-foot operations and maintenance building off Flat Rock Road.

n Ensuring that the developer has obtained setback and noise easements from three non-participating landowners with residential buildings within 1,000 feet of a tower before issuing a special permit.

n Consider having the town enter an agreement with the developer ensuring that nearby seasonal use roads used as snowmobile trails — and maintained with state funding — not be disturbed during the snowmobile season.

n Consider having the town enter an easement agreement with the developer for establishment of multimodal recreational trails to include, but not limited to, all-terrain vehicles.

Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, is proposing the wind farm on 5,280 acres just south of the Maple Ridge Wind Farm. Iberdrola is part owner of the existing, 195-turbine wind farm.

Thirty turbines would be on land owned by Zeager Partnership Ltd. of Middletown, Pa., while the other nine would be located on adjacent parcels.

The Roaring Brook project would utilize 2-megawatt turbines with a maximum height at the blade tip of 476 feet. The 1.65-megawatt Maple Ridge turbines have a maximum height of about 400 feet.

The project also would include upgrades to 10 miles of existing forest roads and portions of French and Flat Rock roads, construction of five miles of gravel access roads, installation of 13 miles of underground electrical line and erection of a 100-foot-tall meteorological tower. The wind farm would connect to the 115-kilovolt Taylor-Boonville power line near Lee Road through an additional 5.5 miles of buried electrical line and three miles of overhead line.

The proposed wind farm is in the town's Wind Power Overlay District, which requires 1,000-foot setbacks from residential buildings unless owners consent to a setback/noise easement, according to a project review by county Planner Renee J. Beyer.

While six homes or camps are located within 1,000 feet of a proposed tower, Atlantic Wind officials indicated that a setback/noise easement is part of the lease agreement with three participating landowners and that they are obtaining easements from three non-participating owners, Mrs. Beyer wrote.

The proposed wind farm would be next to 13,000 acres of land purchased in 2002 by the Nature Conservancy. The conservation group has expressed opposition to Roaring Brook, suggesting its location in the Tug Hill core forest could harm wildlife habitats, create pathways for invasive plants and make the forest more susceptible to damage from disease and insects.

The Martinsburg Planning Board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. today at the town hall on Route 26 to review the project's full Environmental Impact Statement, with further project review slated for subsequent meetings.

The county Planning Board on Monday also approved the countywide comprehensive plan, a bed and breakfast proposed by Elaine Rosiczkowski in her residence on Lee Road in the town of Turin and a 30-by-50-foot self-storage facility proposed by Ronald and Cindy Shue on Route 12 in the town of Leyden.

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