Canajoharie has joined the list of local towns that have passed or are working on laws regulating windmills.
It held a public hearing on proposed windmill regulations last week — which no one from the community attended.
“There was a public hearing with no public to hear,” said Canajoharie Town Supervisor Herbert Allen. “Then the Town Board sent the proposed law back to the Canajoharie Planning Board to look over the county Planning Board’s suggestions.” The law could be approved by the Town Board at its May 3 meeting.
Area towns became interested in windmill regulations several years ago when a wind energy company was rumored to be making inquiries about the higher ground in the towns of Mohawk and Palatine. Nothing formal was ever filled, but since then, numerous towns have passed some kind of legislation regulating windmill safety, according to Montgomery County Planner Douglas Greene.
Canajoharie’s proposed Wind Energy Facilities Law was drafted by town planners and reviewed by the Montgomery County Planning Board.
Allen said the two windmills that are currently running in Canajoharie will not be in violation of the law once it is passed because the owners came to the Planning Board for advice before putting them up.
The law is aimed at safety, Allen said. “It regulates how far back a windmill must be from property lines and roads and requires windmill owners to have a noise analysis done. This is just to make it so if a windmill falls down it won’t damage a neighbor’s property or make too much noise when it’s running.”
The law will also require some licensing protocols to be followed before the construction of a windmill and requires a safety inspection every year, according to Greene.
“It pretty much follows regulations used in other places,” Greene said. “There are a whole slew of places with this type of thing on the books, so Canajoharie didn’t have to make it up from scratch.”
Some places of higher elevation in the area would be conducive to wind energy, Greene said, but there has been very little controversy of late.
“There have been some concerns. Windmills haven’t been greeted with open arms,” Greene said, “but it’s not a hotbed issue because there has been some doubt on whether our grid could even support a windmill. It’s one thing to install a windmill; it’s another to do all the wiring.”