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Denmark planning board approves wind test tower

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DEER RIVER — The Denmark town Planning Board on Monday night signed off on a test tower for the Copenhagen Wind Farm project.

The board by a 7-0 vote approved a special-use permit request from Brooklyn wind developer OwnEnergy to install a 197-foot-tall meteorological tower at the Lyndon W. and Patricia F. Moser farm, 3981 Wilson Road. It would measure wind speed and direction.

The tower, to be supported by guy wires, would be on 2.5 acres of land just across the road from the Mosers’ barn and is slated to be up for up to three years, allowing the company to determine whether a wind project would be feasible here. The site is just west of the hamlet of Denmark.

Kathleen M. Amyot of Tug Hill Commission and Carl A. McLaughlin, director of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, both encouraged town officials to contact the community liaison office at the Army post to discuss the impact of any potential wind farm sooner rather than later.

“These may not have any impact,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “But we try not to do anything that encroaches their borders.”

Planning Board members initially discussed holding off on approval of the test tower — along with action on a special-use permit request from Mark J. and Tracey Thomas to install a 10-kilowatt personal wind turbine on a 140-foot tower at their 10280 Old State Road residence — until that discussion could take place. However, they ultimately decided to approve both permit requests, with the intent of contacting Fort Drum officials soon to discuss any potential concerns with the proposed wind farm itself.

A few other town residents asked questions about the project, but there was little discussion, as the approval was for the test tower only.

The wind farm would provide about $20 million to local taxing jurisdictions through a proposed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement “during operating years” and $1 million annually to participating farmers and neighbors, according to OwnEnergy officials. At most, it would be an 80-megawatt project.

Beneficial Renewable Resources LLC, Sarasota, Fla., from 2006 to 2008 entered wind development leases with 36 landowners, including the Mosers, in northwestern Lewis County, primarily in Denmark. OwnEnergy in early 2011 entered an agreement with Beneficial to take over development of the project.

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