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Denmark Planning Board approves wind test tower

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DEER RIVER — The Denmark town Planning Board has signed off on a second test tower for the proposed Copenhagen Wind Farm.

Following clarification of the location, board members on Monday voted 6-0 to approve a special use permit for OwnEnergy Inc., Brooklyn, under the auspices of Copenhagen Wind Farm LLC, to install a 197-foot-tall meteorological tower on the south side of Roberts Road on a parcel owned by Gene Bolton, Timothy Sullivan, Harold Sullivan and Bruce Stephenson.

OwnEnergy about a year ago installed a similar tower at the Lyndon W. and Patricia F. Moser farm on Wilson Road.

The proposed test tower would be near the geographic center of the project area, while the one on the Moser property is at the southern end.

The Planning Board also recommended that town zoning law for wind projects allow neighboring property owners to waive a side- and back-lot setback for turbines. The recommendation will be considered by the Town Council at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Town law sets the lot setback at the height of the tower, plus twice the blade length. With 315-foot-tall towers proposed, that would amount to roughly a 670-foot setback, according to OwnEnergy Inc. project manager James Damon.

The proposed amendment, considered at the request of the developer, would require that a waiver be made in writing and recorded in the Lewis County clerk’s office.

The Planning Board also made the recommendation contingent on the developer’s providing the town with a sample neighbor waiver agreement to show how the wind farm, if built, would address issues such as crop and timber loss and property cleanup if a turbine malfunction were to damage a nearby property.

Legislator Charles R. Fanning, R-Copenhagen, said he was in favor of the project but concerned that nonparticipating property owners are protected.

Mr. Damon said that compensation for damage would be included in all agreements with participating landowners and neighbors.

The Copenhagen Wind Farm project proposes up to 49 turbines, generating a maximum of 80 megawatts, on as many as 62 private parcels in the town of Denmark. It would include a 115-kilovolt overhead power line running roughly nine miles through the towns of Champion, Rutland and Watertown to connect the wind farm to a National Grid substation near Burrville.

When asked about possible problems with flicker effect and poor television reception, Mr. Damon said those issues and others have been studied over the past year and will be addressed in the draft environmental impact statement, which is to be completed soon.

The project has received Federal Aviation Administration approval for the proposed towers but will have to reapply because of some siting changes, he said.

Mr. Damon and a Fort Drum representative in attendance both said they have been in discussions to ensure that tower placement does not disrupt flight patterns at the base. The developer might help fund radar upgrades to mitigate any turbine interference.

The Planning Board on Monday also approved, by a 6-0 vote, an application from Rick Babcock to install a sign advertising Babcock’s Campground, East Road, on Route 26 between East and Station roads.

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