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Public Hearing On Wind Turbines Tonight

A public meeting will take place this evening to discuss the proposed wind turbine amendments. Can't make the meeting? Tell council your thoughts in the comments!

 

Tonight, Middletown will have an opportunity to chime in on one of the most controversial local debates.

A public hearing is scheduled to discuss an ordinance that would amend Article 25A of the Middletown zoning code which would restrict wind turbines in Middletown.  The hearing is part of the regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at .

was approved in February after Councilor Chris Semonelli said residents on Mitchell’s Lane complained of flicker, shadow and noise distractions.  A neighbor has had a privately owned wind turbine in place for several years.

One lifelong resident, Tracie Spooner,  

“There is a light humming noise that emanates from the turbines at all times and when the blades are spinning, it is more like a small engine plane flying overhead,” wrote Spooner in a letter to the editor last March.  “The flicker effect is extremely annoying, especially if the sun is hitting it the right way; it’s sort of a vertigo effect.  I work from home and I had to move my office into the basement in an isolated room to try to avoid the humming noise all day.”

At the last council meeting, Councilor Barbara VonVillas urged the council to wait until after November's election to debate the issue. She said the town survey has been ignored and interviews with impacted residents were misrepresented.

“I do not think this council would like this to be an election issue,” she said.  Vonvillas voted against the original motion in February. 

Summary of Proposed Changes to Article 25A

  • The proposal prohibits wind turbines in any zoning district except for parcels where the primary use is field crop farms, horticultural nurseries or livestock farms.
  • The amendment removes the wording for small, medium and large tower wind turbines.  The proposal limits all building-mounted  tower-mounted wind turbines to 120 feet in height.
  • The fall zone, which is currently 125 percent of the turbine’s height, would increase to 175 percent.  The fall zone is defined as “the calculated area of the land surrounding a wind turbine that may be affected by debris should the supporting structure collapse or any component of the wind turbine or anything attached to it fall to the ground.”
  • The proposed setback is three times the height of the turbine.
  • A maintenance schedule and a report demonstrating compliance with the maintenance schedule would be required.
  • The proposal would require there is no shadow or flicker to neighboring properties.  The current code states those nuisances should be “minimized.”
  • The amendment would prohibit the noise level to exceed 30dB.
  • The proposal adds language to conduct an environmental impact analysis and well as ensure the turbine does not interfere with telecommunication transmissions.

 

Can't make it to the hearing tonight? Tell Middletown Town Council your take in the comments.

John M. Byrne September 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Your article claims the neighbor on Mitchells Lane complained, this is simply not true. That was my house the Council members came to and I told them that I did not have a problem with the two turbines nor have I ever made any complaints about them to my neighbor. In March 2012, I sent a letter to various media outlets clarifying what actually transpired during our informal meeting, read it at this link http://middletown.patch.com/articles/letter-too-much-weight-given-to-my-wind-turbine-comments
frank maloof September 04, 2012 at 08:55 PM
you people on that island of yours are strange noise from a turbine? oh come on now! you just think it will effect the value of your over priced homes bet my last dollar wont see another turbine there ever stay in the dark ages thats where you belong
Bill Carson September 13, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Wind turbines cause property value loss. Real estate sale data reveals a range of 25% to approximately 40% of value loss. The town should demand a property value guarantee from the corporate wind developer or anyone who installs a commercial wind turbine over 120 feet. They install a wind turbine behind your house ! You'll never sell It ! Ask the people in Falmouth ,Massachusetts Noise and sleep disturbance issues are affecting people in Massachusetts within one mile of the nearest commercial turbines In Falmouth ,Massachusetts the wind turbine impact to the “use & enjoyment” of many homes are an ongoing. This town has shut down the turbines from 7 pm at night until 7 am in the morning over noise issues. Check out this Trailer for movie Windfall .See if it looks like Middletown http://firstrunfeatures.com/trailers_windfall.html
Albert Jay Nock September 18, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Wind turbines are industrial machines that don't belong in residential areas. And they serve no purpose other than to siphon subsidy money away from rate payers. They are not green. Several studies have shown that because they disrupt the power grid, they can actually result in more fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. (See ERCOT Bentek IV Study, Irish Government study, Argonne National Lab study.) The only thing green about them is the money.
Kathy Sherman September 19, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Frank- check your geography - there was no mention of an island, and the issue is not property values until one's home is acoustically condemned, because rich folks with those expensive homes tend to site them where they will not be affected. But the Middletown case is about a small turbine, which we are increasingly finding can have audible noise impact and flicker, as well as the low frequency noise impact the former resident describes which could be due to amplitude modulation of noise or what Dr. Salt describes - the effect of infrasound via outer hair cells in the cochlea (hearing portion of the ear) on the audibility of low frequencies above 20 Hz. It is not all about IFN, but the fact that low frequencies dominate the spectrum of turbines, travel further and are not blocked easily by structures together with marked INTRINSIC differences in sensitivity to low frequencies is what the dB level comparers need to educate themselves about. 30 dB limit, if accurately predicted by the Swedish or Danish DELTA methods, likely would preclude even the turbine at 3100 ft. Wind proponents really need to do a reality check on what was in Europe & the problems when industrial wind grew exponentially. The woman impacted reports vertigo from flicker; others get dizzy from the motion of the blades, so it is not all vestibular input or all IFN. It needs on-the-ground research

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