"It is, therefore, declared the policy of the state to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land for production of food and other agricultural products."
-NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, Right-to-Farm laws
By enacting the Right-to-Farm statute, New York’s legislature intended to provide some protection for farmland against encroachment from non-agricultural development . The Heritage Wind project is non-agricultural.
The NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets policy states, "It is, therefore, declared policy of the state to conserve, protect, and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products ." As an agricultural Right-to-Farm community, allowing the Heritage Wind project in our town defies the state's goal of preserving and protecting our land for the production of food and agricultural products. Wind is not an agricultural product and cannot be cultivated or harvested. Industrial Wind Turbines are INDUSTRIAL, not agricultural.
The NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets policy also states, "It is also the declared policy of the state to conserve and protect the agricultural lands as valued natural and ecological resources which provide needed open spaces for clean air sheds, as well as for aesthetic purposes ." The +/- 33 650'-680' Industrial Wind Turbines would ruin the natural beauty of our region. We will no longer have open spaces, clean air sheds, or the aesthetics that makes Barre beautiful.
Converting agricultural land for the use of Industrial Wind Turbines irreversibly destroys it. The Heritage Wind project would destroy over 53 acres of agricultural land for turbines, collection lines, access roads, towers, and maintenance building(s). During construction, an additional 15 acres would be lost to staging areas. Tons and tons of concrete would be poured into the earth and filled with rebar to build the turbine foundations. These concrete foundations would be permanent. If the wind turbines were ever to be decommissioned, these foundations would simply be covered up, permanently changing the agricultural land. As a Right-to-Farm community, our soil is our most valuable resource and these concrete foundations would change the soil and ecosystem. Altering our agricultural landscape violates the Right-to-Farm purpose and values.
7th generation farmers from Iowa explain it the best: "The construction of industrial wind turbines affects aquifers, water flow, tile lines, soil erosion, soil compaction, air pressure and current, in essence—it is destruction of the best soil in the world, the farmland that the generations before us were proud of and left for us to feed the world with ."
The 2019 Town of Barre Wind Ordinance states, "The total tip height for each wind energy conversion unit cannot exceed 500 feet as measured from the base of the unit to the tip of the unit's longest blade ." Therefore, Apex should not have pursued a project that is outside this ordinance to begin with. The mere fact that they are trying to build Industrial Wind Turbines 650'-680' in height when our ordinance limits turbines to 500' tells us that Apex thinks the Town Board and/or Article 10 siting board will overrule our town's current ordinance and rule in favor of them.
In January 2019, the Barre Town Board voted not to change our current wind ordinances, but instead to allow the state siting board to determine what turbine height and setbacks would be allowed in our town . We elected our town officials to make the best decisions for our town, and they handed that job over to the state, where residents will have little say--exactly what Apex wanted.
The 2019 wind ordinance states that the property line setback for Industrial Wind Turbines must be no less that 1.5x turbine tip height , which for a 650' - 680' Industrial Wind Turbine is only 975 - 1,020 feet. Our current setbacks are inadequate and dangerous to residents' heath, well-being, and property values. Madison County, Iowa is #2 for wind turbines in the United States and their county Board of Health recommends a minimum setback of 1 1/2 miles from non-participating properties .
As of September 2020, the Town Board has drafted and proposed Local Law No. 2 of the Year 2020, which would make changes to our wind ordinance to accommodate 700' tall Industrial Wind Turbines, but does not address the inadequate setbacks, lack of property value guarantee, or noise limits, among other problems. Supervisor Sean Pogue should have had no influence over this local law due to his financial conflict of interest with the Heritage Wind project, yet he has not recused himself and has been heavily involved.
Judges in the state Article 10 process ruled that a wind developer must meet the World Health Organization's setback recommendations, and the Town of Barre must demand the same from Apex, at the very least. “WHO 2009 and WHO 2018 along with the positions of Department of Public Service staff and Department of Health provide the Siting Board with a sufficient basis in the record to reject Number Three Wind’s position that wind turbine noise at levels below 46 dBA is not associated with health impacts.” Based on the World Health Organization’s findings, the judges recommend a 40-decibel long term limit outdoors, 30 decibels indoors and a short term, eight-hour, outdoor limit of 42 decibels for residents that do not participate in the project and 50 decibels for those that do .
Barre Town Board proposing Local Law No. 2 of 2020, changing wind ordinance.
The Town of Barre Zoning Regulations states:
"SECTION 101 PURPOSE
This Zoning Ordinance is adopted pursuant to the Town Law of the State of New York, to promote and protect the public health, safety, and general welfare and in furtherance of the following related and more specific purposes:
1. To protect the open, rural and natural character of the land.
2. To preserve the town's natural resources and habitats.
3. To guide and regulate the orderly growth, development, and redevelopment of the Town of Barre in accordance with a well-considered plan and with long-term objectives, principals and standards deemed beneficial to the interest and welfare of the people."
Article V of the Zoning Regulations explain the allowed use of different zoned properties within the town:
"SECTION 500 AGRICULTURAL/RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (AR)
The purpose of the AR Agricultural/ Residential District is to protect agricultural lands and uses from incompatible uses and development; to maintain an open rural character of the community; to assure compatible types and densities of development; to provide for low density, rural development on lands where public sewers and water service do not exist and are not envisioned in the near future; and to protect the natural environment."
Article VI of the Zoning Regulations lay out very specific rules and restrictions about signs that are allowed in the Town of Barre. "The purpose of these regulations is to provide comprehensive time, place and manner restrictions on signage including, but not limited to, controls on size, height, quantity, location, spacing, shape, lighting, motion, design and appearance for the purpose of promoting community aesthetics, traffic safety, economic development and the protection of property values."
Heritage Wind, LLC may have violated numerous provisions of the Code of Conduct Agreement it signed with the NYS Attorney General by:
FAILURE TO RECUSE
Sean Pogue, your current Town Supervisor, has failed to recuse himself from official duties, including discussions and/or voting, connected to Heritage Wind despite having a clear and disclosed financial conflict of interest.
Although he has recused himself from voting, Larry Gaylard, your current Town Board Member, has stated that he thinks he should be allowed to vote despite having a clear and disclosed financial conflict of interest.
The current Town of Barre wind ordinance states that the property line setback for Industrial Wind Turbines must be no less that 1.5x turbine tip height , which for a 650' - 680' Industrial Wind Turbine is only 975 - 1,020 feet. Our current setbacks are improper and dangerous to residents' heath, well-being, and property values. Madison County, Iowa is #2 for wind turbines in the United States and their county Board of Health recommends a minimum setback of 1 1/2 miles from non-participating properties . Other towns and counties in New York State are updating their wind ordinances so that the distance and noise regulations better protect the health, welfare, and property values of their residents. The Town of Barre needs to do the same.
The Chautauqua County Board of Health recommends setbacks of at least 1.5 miles and no more that 35 dB noise from closest residence. Watch here and learn more here. We would be wise to listen to our neighbors to the west.
Kirby Mountain keeps an updated list of some setbacks and noise regulations around the world. Not including outright moratoriums and bans.
Say No to Apex Heritage Wind Industrial Wind Turbines in Barre, NY
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Heritage Wind announced at the July 2023 Town Board Meeting plans to change the layout and specs of the project once again! This is not over!
If you are approached to sign anything, please let us know! We are expecting this and want you to be aware.
CSAB will continue to educate and fight against this disastrous project.