Hanover OKs wind energy conversion system

HANOVER – Twelve feet was the reason for the town board to contemplate a variance for a small wind energy conversion system at a public hearing Monday.

Padma Kasthurirangan, WECS representative working for Angell Road resident Mark Martin, submitted the application for a unit 132 feet total in height – 12 feet above the town’s 120 foot limit.

Supervisor Todd Johnson opened the public hearing for the area variance to consider whether to allow the agricultural WECS to be built despite the height overage.

The 120-foot height requirement, along with other stipulations, was laid out in Local Law No. 2 of 2008.

Johnson said this was the first time a WECS law variance has come before the board. He also noted this law is unique to the town, in that variance applications are referred to the town board instead of the zoning board of appeals.

Councilman Wayne Ashley, the only current board member who was also serving on the board in 2008, said the board at the time thought that because of the controversial nature of WECS, the town board should have the deciding power in these cases.

Johnson noted that the height variance was the only feature in this case that did not follow the law’s specifications.

Councilman Kenneth Cross asked what the WECS would be used for.

Kasthurirangan said the electricity generated would go toward the farm’s use and any extra would go into the power grid and issued as credits.

Cross also asked how this system would compare to the one at AgriAmerica in Sheridan.

“It is exactly the same system,” she said.

Kasthurirangan also explained the WECS would stand 200 feet from the property line.

Kasthurirangan also explained that the WECS tower would be 120 feet plus the blade height. She said the next smallest tower is 100 feet, but it would not produce enough electricity to cover the farm’s usage.

There were no public comments and Johnson noted that none of the five neighbors attended to comment.

After the public hearing was closed, the board felt ready to vote on the variance.

During the meeting, the board members unanimously voted to allow the variance.

The board will meet again on April 14. A meeting on the veteran’s memorial project will be held April 2 at 2 p.m. in the supervisor’s office at the town hall.