Arkwright’s wind plans in making for 13 years

The OBSERVER (March 3) rose to a new high in the publishing world. They now rate next to The New York Times and The Washington Post in their presentation of “fake news.”

In his Publisher’s notebook, John D’Agostino swallows the comments of Patti Greenstein of Cassadaga hook, line and sinker and publishes them as the “gospel truth” without any fact-checking to determine the accuracy of her remarks.

This commentary compares the proposed wind turbines to the One Seneca Tower in Buffalo. This is an unfair comparison since they will be similar in height but not in overall mass. The One Seneca Tower building appears much larger and more imposing than a wind tower for it has more mass.

Concerns for bats and birds are being observed in Arkwright right now as the wind project is beginning to clear sites for transmission lines and access roads. This has to be done within a very narrow time frame — less than two months — in order to protect the long-eared bats in the area.

Mrs. Greenstein erroneously stated that “property values of homes near windmills will plummet.” In a study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released August of 2013, it analyzed over 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities across nine states. It did not uncover any impacts to nearby home property values. I have personally viewed a new home being built in the midst of nearly 200 wind turbines in a development near Watertown. This homeowner understood the economic value wind projects have in maintaining lower tax rates.

There are also concerns about ice throws off wind turbine blades. In a Swiss report entitled “Wind Turbine Ice Throw Studies in the Swiss Alps,” it was found that there was a significant safety risk stating that the most dangerous place for ice was directly underneath the turbine. The report also stated that 95 percent of the ice fragments landed less than 250 feet from the base of the turbine, well within the 1,000-foot setback stipulated in wind zoning laws.

I have experienced first hand the “noise” from a large wind farm. The sound is similar to gentle waves lapping on a shore line, or a breeze through the woods. As far as the flickering effect from turbines, the developer takes great care in citing the placement of these turbines as to minimize this disturbance to nearby homes. If, however, a homeowner is impacted by the flickering, it will be for less than half an hour as the rotation of the earth will change the direction of the shadow.

The decision to develop wind projects in the town of Arkwright has been a well thought-out process going back 13 years. The attorney that helped the town develop the zoning law was NOT employed by the wind developer as the article implies, but as an expert in legal matters concerning wind development hired by the Town of Arkwright. The town as not been “naive” regarding wind development in the Town of Arkwright.

Greenstein stated that “all they saw was dollar signs” in regard to the local board members. As a former town of Arkwright board member who served when this project was first proposed, it was not just a matter of “dollar signs.” The future of the whole community will be affected by this project.

Arkwright is a very small, very poor, very rural town with a very limited tax base and nothing to attract any large tax-payer to settle in our town. Without the income from this project, the town’s taxes will continue to rise causing significant hardship for the residents.

Rising taxes can drive people away from a community and cause property values to fall, but this project gives us a hope of a prosperous tomorrow.

I strongly support the Arkwright wind project.

Larry Ball is an Arkwright resident.