Private wind turbine moves ahead

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Thursday, April 23
HOOSICK, N.Y. — Francis Knapp, of Bovie Hill Road, does not have to seek approval for a proposed 100-foot wind turbine he intends to build on his property from the Hoosick Planning Board.

At Monday's meeting, the board determined that the wind tower Knapp intends to build is permitted under the town's Land Use Law, which passed in early March. Knapp said he sought approval from the board prior to the law because he felt the Land Use Law may have prevented him from building the turbine and wanted to get it approved before the law went into effect.

Knapp withdrew his application from the board and must now receive a building permit from the town building inspector.

He said seven acres would be needed for the tower, and there will be a 150-foot setback from the road in case the tower falls. Knapp said he hopes to hook the tower up to the power grid and sell small amounts back to the electric utility. The board determined, based on the Land Use Law, that doing so does not constitute a commercial wind farm.

In other business, the board reviewed an application from AT&T to add a cellular antenna to an existing tower, owned by Crown Atlantic Co., on Lebarron Road.

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The addition would extend AT&T coverage along Route 7, between Hoosick Falls and Johnsonville, an area that currently receives poor coverage. The addition would include a 12-by 20-foot precast concrete structure, built within the existing facility, to house generator equipment.

The board voted to have AT&T provide $2,500 for hiring a consultant to examine the site plan of the existing tower. The tower was constructed in 1991, but the laws requiring the board to review the site were not passed until 2000. The board has not seen plans for the current tower, and would need an expert opinion on its safety before granting AT&T a permit.

A public hearing that had been scheduled prior to the regular planning board meeting was canceled, said Marilyn Douglas, town supervisor. The meeting would have been to hear public comments on the town's application for a Round 3 Restore New York Communities Initiative Municipal Grant for $1.8 million. The grant would have allowed for the restoration of the old Flomatic building on Factory Hill Road, which Douglas said owner Gary Brown, who runs Brown's Brewing Co. in Troy, is seeking to turn into a brewery.

Douglas said Brown would not be able to get his end of the necessary paperwork completed by the May 4 deadline, hence the hearing's cancellation. Douglas said the town has applied for the grant once before, but was denied because the scope was too large. Had the grant been received, 10 percent of the cost would have been collected by the town from Brown's Brewery, while the town would match funds with in-kind services.

Douglas said she believes Brown will seek other sources of funding for the project.

Contact Keith Whitcomb at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com.


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