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Henderson to focus on formulating “small wind law”

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HENDERSON — Formulating a new wind law for personal turbines has been on the Town Council’s back burner for months.

But Supervisor Raymond A. Walker said now that the town has got a few things out of the way — such as adopting its 2013 budget — the “small wind law” is next on the council’s agenda.

At this point there is no set schedule for meetings and public hearings. However, Mr. Walker said the town board hopes to amend its wind zoning ordinance to allow wind turbines for private use before March.

Although it recently has permitted the installation of a 10-kilowatt personal wind turbine in an agricultural district, Henderson’s zoning law imposes a flat-out ban on the installation of turbines in the town regardless of the intended use.

It had planned to draft and adopt regulations for private turbines for several months, but the town board had been “tied up in too many other things” until now, Mr. Walker said.

Town officials in September approved the $88,000 project to erect a 150-foot personal turbine on Harvey and Susan Grimshaw’s farm on Whitney Road but only after the state Department of Agriculture and Markets told them that state Agriculture and Markets Law, which allows for such a project, overrides local zoning rules in this case.

Sherret E. Chase, president of the New Jersey-based Chase Construction Management Inc. and contractor for the Grimshaw family’s project, said he is now helping a group of Henderson residents gather signatures and submit a petition calling for a “simple” small wind law that “encourages private ownership of small windmills for electrical production.”

So far, only about six property owners have signed the petition, but close to 80 people have expressed verbal support for the movement in the past, Mr. Chase said.

The group fears the town will try to impose rules that would restrict the placement and height of private turbines to the extent that it would make little sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars on purchasing a wind turbine with an energy output that is insufficient for their needs.

The petition suggests that the town of Henderson adopt “New York State Energy Research and Development Authority or other internationally-recognized testing and certification standards” for private wind turbines.

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