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October 23, 2013

 

Wind farm dominates Truxton forum

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

TRUXTON — Three candidates vying for the chance to represent Cuyler, Solon and Truxton on the Cortland County Legislature next year aired their differences on a proposed wind energy project on Tuesday at the Truxton Senior Center.
The meet the candidates event had a packed room as seniors and community members came to meet the four candidates for Truxton Town Council and the two town supervisor candidates as well as the town clerk, in addition to the Legislative candidates.
Competing to represent Legislative District 16 are Republican candidate James Denkenberger, Democratic candidate Allison King and Independence Party candidate Rich Palmer.
McGraw resident and Truxton landowner Russ Warren questioned all the candidates about prevailing opposition to the proposed Crown City Wind Farm, which would include turbines in Cortlandville, Solon, Homer and Truxton by 2015.
Denkenberger and King both aired their distaste for the wind farm while Palmer said that although he owns a Mobile gas station, he favors alternative energy and a move away from fossil fuels. He down played the concern of shadow flicker, which is caused by the turning blade reflecting the sun, saying things can be done to minimize it.
Denkenberger said he does not want to see wind turbines in the rural setting but thinks the issue should be put to the voters to decide as a special vote or referendum.
King spoke ardently against the wind farm, saying although she favored it at first, after researching the project she learned it has not been thought out and that the area lacks the necessary wind speeds to make it viable.
Kathie Arnold, Nicole Sprouse, Joaquin Lira and Lloyd Sutton are vying for two seats on the Town Council and they also aired their opinions on the proposed wind farm. Arnold, who has been critical of the project as a county legislator, said she is looking out for the best interests of the citizens and faulted the United Kingdom-based firm TCI Renewables for proposing 738-foot setbacks from non-participating property lines. She said that since the turbines are 500 feet tall this setback is not adequate and she thinks Truxton’s proposed 3,280 setback is protective.
Sprouse said the setbacks seem too prohibitive and she questions the opposition to the project as well, saying she wonders where opponents of the wind project want to get their power from. Sutton said the project was not proposed well or well thought out and Lira said health and safety should come first when considering the project.
Town Councilman Gus Wehbe is running for town supervisor against Joe Pullman. Wehbe, who chaired the Truxton Wind Ordinance Committee, defended the town’s proposed setbacks, saying the committee worked hard to come up with a law that would protect town residents.
“Nobody wants to live right under these things,” Wehbe said.
Pullman said he agrees with King that the project lacks viable wind speeds to justify wind turbines and he applauded the work of the wind ordinance committee.
After the forum, Denkenberger said if elected he would push for measures to ensure people know what they are voting on, such as each resolution carrying a cover sheet explaining its pros and cons as it comes out of committee.
King said she has both business acumen and experience on various boards and committees to position her well for the post. She said she likes to balance both the technical and financial component of issues to come to informed decisions.
She said she would push for greater transparency on the Legislature, adding many people were upset that the proposed ash-for-trash deal with Onondaga County was barely introduced to the public before the Legislature was voting on spending $250,000 on environmental studies.
King said that through open dialogue with residents from the start, the Legislature could tap into the variety of skills and expertise that community members have.
Palmer said his honesty would be a good thing for the Legislature and that he would help put an end to “lies and backward deals.”
Town Clerk Kimberly Reakes is unopposed and thanked those in attendance for giving her the opportunity to continue the job she enjoys.

 

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