Roxbury Planning Board awaiting turbine reviews

By Julia Green
Roxbury Planning Board Chairman Joe Farleigh said Wednesday he believes that things are “in pretty good shape at this point” in terms of the wind turbine application process during the town’s monthly planning board meeting, adding that he believes the public comments submitted during the SEQR process were “quite inclusive” and doesn’t suppose anything has been left out.
The comments received during the public hearing phase of the process in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are still in the hands of LaBella Associates, the primary technical consultant being solicited by the planning board, as the planning board awaits feedback in order to proceed with the drafting of the Final Environmental Impact State-ment.
“We’re still reviewing the [DEIS] and the public comments that were submitted,” said Mark Tayrien, the planning board’s primary technical consultant at LaBella. “It’s conceivable that there could be some interim steps; it’s still to be determined if Moresville is going to have to go back and augment any of the studies in the DEIS. That’s a possibility, and if that turned out to be the case, it would be an interim step before the board does the Final Environmental Impact Statement.”
Tayrien estimated that the necessity of additional studies would become clear sometime within four to eight weeks.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Farleigh asked a representative from Invenergy if the turbine manufacturer, Vestas, has been contacted regarding the viability of the proposed turbine model for the location. Concerns have been raised regarding the feasibility of utilizing the suggested model in light of factors such as elevation and incline on the Moresville Ridge. The representative said that he was unsure, and Farleigh again requested that Invenergy contact Vestas for more information on the suitability of the turbines for the project site.
The board again reiterated a number of concerns, including the avian study, decommissioning issues, noise issues, the storm water pollution protection plan, and economic impact issues.
Regarding avian issues, Farleigh informed the board that LaBella had communicated with avian experts at the Department of Environmental Conservation, who said they would like to see at least another fall migration observed, particularly in the case of raptors.
“Serious questions” were also cited regarding the forestry data, which allegedly incorrectly identifies species of trees and will therefore have to be redone, and the setback issue. Regarding the suggested setback of 1,300 feet or more, Farleigh said that he would like to hear from the manufacturer why that distance is recommended.
The board will continue the discussion at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall in Roxbury.