PLANNING BOARD MEETING
August 12, 2013 Page 1 of 3
The regular meeting of the Richfield Town Board was held on Monday, August 12, 2013. The meeting was scheduled for the Richfield Springs Central School to accommodate the public. Chairman Urtz called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM. Other board members in attendance were Andela, Sylvester, Woodrow, and alternate Harris.
Before the minutes were approved board member Sylvester asked if Monticello Hills needed to submit a new application for the turbine project and if the board needs to redo the SEQR process. The SEQR process was upheld so the board does not need to do it again.
Motion to approve minutes of the July 8, 2013, and July 22, 2013, meetings by Woodrow, second by Harris. Andela – yes, Sylvester – yes, Woodrow – yes, Urtz – yes.
The Planning Board has received a response from the Otsego County Planning Department for the Town of Richfield’s Special use Permit for the Monticello Hills Wind Project. The project was approved with modification. The county questioned whether the project is considered to be compatible with existing land uses in the area. The Richfield planning board has determined that it is. The county recommended that DOT be contacted for input as to whether or not DOT feels the turbines will impact the designation of U S Highway 20 as a scenic byway. DOT received notice from the town in a letter dated August 3, 2011. The DOT response did not include any comments or concerns over the scenic byway. Chairman Urtz had available a brochure published by the scenic byway commission that promoted the wind towers in Madison County as a tourist attraction. Because of the modification recommendation imposed by the county, the vote on this project will need a supermajority (majority plus one). Board member Andela found the county recommendations helpful; board member Sylvester asked again about contacting DOT.
The board discussed comments from the public hearing. Both EDR and CHA sent written responses for board members to review. Board member Woodrow felt that EDR addressed all the issues of concern and he is satisfied with their response. Board member Andela said she has reviewed all the environmental issues and her questions have been answered. She also said the town should not overlook the financial benefits to the town, county, village, school district (Mt. Markham), individual homeowners, and the community as a whole. Board member Sylvester asked about when and what is done of the company breaches their contract. Attorney Merzig answered that enforcement is not the charge of the Planning Board.
The board moved on to address each of the 7.3(e) issues, “Standards Applicable to all Special Permit Uses”, as per the Otsego County Planning Office response to the 239m letter request.
- Board member Sylvester stated that the height of the turbines does not comply, and the height is not harmonious with the district. CHA reply – harmony is not defined in the ordinance therefore the definition is problematic. Motion by Woodrow to move that he is satisfied that the project will not impede the orderly development of the district. Second by Andela. Andela – yes, Sylvester – no, Woodrow – yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
- The board discussed the possible impact on land values. Board member Sylvester questioned whether the wind company has agreements with all the landowners. Board member Andela does not think there will be a negative impact on land values. Motion by Andela, second by Woodrow that the wind turbine project will not discourage the development of adjacent lands, Andela – yes, Sylvester – yes, Woodrow – yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
The special permit will not conflict with the comprehensive plan. The town does not have a comprehensive plan. Chairman Urtz read the purpose and use view from the current “Land Use and Building Management Ordinance.” Motion by Woodrow, second by Sylvester that they are satisfied with section 7.3(e) # 3. Andela – yes, Sylvester – yes, Woodrow – yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
Objectionable noise, fumes, vibrations, or flashing lights. The board has discussed noise, fumes, vibrations, flashing lights, etc. Board member Woodrow read the written comments from CHA that addresses these concerns. Board member Woodrow asked Sylvester if this project is more objectionable than other uses. Sylvester thinks it is more objectionable. Motion by Woodrow, second by Harris that the turbine project will not be more objectionable to nearby properties by reason of noise, fumes, vibration, or flashing light than would be the operation of any permitted use. Andela – yes, Sylvester – no, Woodrow –yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
Necessary provisions have been made to assure all surface runoff to adjacent properties does not exceed levels in existence prior to construction. Board member Sylvester asked about the possible formation of a water district and the effect the wind turbines may have on ground water. Chairman Urtz stated that this issue has been addressed. Board member Woodrow pointed out the SEQRA findings were upheld, not challenged by the court. Motion by Woodrow, second by Andela that given that the SEQRA was not challenged by the court necessary provisions have been made to assure all surface runoff to adjacent properties will not exceed levels in existence prior to construction. Andela – yes, Sylvester – no, Woodrow – yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
The board discussed the issue of solar access to adjacent properties. Andela stated that the board has already asked those questions. Studies show that up to 22 residences in the area may be affected 0 to 10 hours per year. Board member Sylvester feels that is only an interpretation of the board. Motion by Andela, second by Woodrow that solar access of adjacent properties will not be affected. Andela – yes, Sylvester – no, Woodrow – yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
Motion by Woodrow, second by Harris that all SEQRA requirements have been met. Andela – yes, Sylvester – yes, Woodrow - - yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
Public health and safety – board member Sylvester thinks the sound vibrations and light will affect health and safety of the area; she is not satisfied with answers given. Board member Woodrow explained that the board must consider research backed studies. Motion by Woodrow, second by Harris. Andela – yes, Sylvester – no, Woodrow – yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
Board member Andela read the “Resolution Granting a Special Permit.” Motion by Andela, second by Woodrow to approve PBR #1 – 2013, “A Resolution Granting a Special Permit for the Construction of Six Wind Turbines in the Town of Richfield.” Andela – yes, Sylvester – no, Woodrow – yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
Motion to adjourn at 9:02 PM by Woodrow, second by Sylvester. Andela – yes, Sylvester – yes, Woodrow – yes, Harris – yes, Urtz – yes.
Monica Harris, Clerk