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Lyme could pass 6-month moratorium on personal wind turbines

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CHAUMONT — The town of Lyme soon could enact a six-month moratorium on personal wind turbines, putting a hold on the installation of such structures while the local government puts together a new zoning law.

The task of coming up with new rules for placement of small residential turbines, and solar and biomass energy development in Lyme will be given to the Planning Board — which introduced earlier this year tough limits on the height, noise level and placement of industrial wind turbines.

The Town Council adopted at an Aug. 11 special meeting the Planning Board’s recommendations for a new commercial wind zoning law, making industrial wind farms unfeasible in Lyme.

Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said he is prepared to propose his own recommendations if Lyme’s Planning Board comes up with “unreasonable” rules.

“If people have the opportunity to reduce their electric bills, I believe they have all the right to do so,” he said, adding that he is not against zoning regulations that protect the safety of the community but does not believe the town should impose unreasonable restrictions that would “zone out” such projects altogether.

A public hearing will be held to discuss the moratorium Oct. 10, but the town board will not be able to vote on the matter until the Jefferson County Planning Board has the chance to review Lyme’s proposal.

In Henderson this week, the town reversed direction and allowed the construction of a small windmill on a farm. The Town Council was informed its restrictions interfere with state Agriculture and Markets Law, which gives broad leeway over local regulations for farm operations.

For now, Mr. Aubertine said, he plans to vote against the moratorium and “any proposal that would violate a person’s individual property rights.”

The town’s goal is to adopt a new set of zoning rules for small personal wind turbines, solar power and biomass energy development by April.

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