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Clayton wind hearing slated

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CLAYTON — The long-awaited revised wind power development zoning law will have its public hearing on April 21.

Town Council, meeting Wednesday night, agreed to the date for a public hearing for zoning amendments on industrial and small wind, as well as zoning for Grindstone Island.

Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor said that in the interest of time, the council will ask the pro-wind and anti-wind groups to designate a single presenter.

"We will ask for their cooperation and their spokesperson would make their pitch," he said.

The commercial zoning amendments follow the recommendations of the town's wind committee, which met last year.

The committee recommended:

n Background noise and low-frequency noise be measured before construction by an independent acoustic engineering firm.

n Noise from turbines shouldn't exceed ambient levels in both audible and low-frequency ranges by more than 5 decibels at nonparticipating residents' property lines.

n Noise should never exceed 50 decibels at any public building or private dwelling, including participating property owners' homes.

n Turbines be placed at least 4,500 feet from the mean high-water mark of Chaumont River.

n Turbines be placed at least 500 feet from state-regulated wetlands and tower height plus 10 percent from above-ground utilities.

n Turbines be placed at least 2.5 times the height of the turbine from a participating residence and the greater of 3.5 times the height or 500 feet from a nonparticipating residence or road.

n Nonparticipating property owners could sign easements to allow sound levels or distances similar to those of participating property owners.

n Shadow flicker should not be allowed at road intersections.

The draft does not include setbacks from the village of Clayton or St. Lawrence River, as the council agreed to keep the zoning law only to the town's overlay district for wind. It also took out the recommended 4,500-foot setback from the lighting district in Depauville.

In the draft that will be considered by the council, the law would also restrict where they are in relation to communication and broadcast antennas so they can't "be reasonably expected to produce electromagnetic interference with signal transmission or reception."

If a turbine would cause interference, the law calls on the operator to correct the issue.

The proposed law also includes other setbacks where noise is not an issue: 500 feet from off-site lot lines and 1,250 feet from the nearest non-participating residence and public buildings.

The zoning amendment also sets up the method for handling personal wind turbines that would primarily provide power to a building on-site. Among other things, small wind facilities would be required to:

n Be no taller than 125 feet to the top of the rotor radius.

n Rise at least 40 feet above the highest structure or tree within 500 feet.

n Have ground clearance of at least 30 feet.

n Sit four times the tower height plus rotor diameter from property lines.

n Be setback 1.5 times the tower height plus rotor diameter from public utility lines.

n Have guy wires at least 15 feet from property lines.

n Generate noise no louder than 40 decibels at property lines.

n Produce no more than 50 kilowatts.

n Be protected by at least a 6-foot fence.

The hearing will be at 6 p.m. April 21 at the Clayton Opera House. The entire zoning law amendment will be available through the clerks office by a Freedom of Information request or on the town's Web site in the next few days, Mr. Taylor said.

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