8/28/11 Got Turbine Noise? Can't Sleep? Who Ya Gonna Call? AND Town protects itself with ordinance calling for 3,000 foot setbacks from property lines, 35dbA at night, 400 foot turbine height restriction
COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT: Wind project resident pleads for help in another useless email to developers
EMAIL TO: Scott Hossie, CANADIAN HYDRO DEVELOPERS
Gary Tomlinson – Provincial Officer, Ministry of the Environment
FROM: (A resident of Amaranth/Melancthon, Ontario)
DATE: March 16, 2009
“It is 1:00 AM.
I can’t take much more of this Scott. The Turbines were down a lot yesterday as I suppose you were testing again. Even with them looking like they weren’t working the vibration / hum in and around our house yesterday was very loud. Again, I cannot fathom what causes that when it appears everything is not running. You would know better than we.
At dinner last night it was quiet and it was the first time that it felt like the days before these turbines started. I had forgotten what peace was like.
Dennis and I went to bed at 7:20 last night because it was quiet, to try to catch up on our sleep. I prayed that you would leave these things unhooked last night so we could have one full night of rest. By midnight I was awake with the vibration back and very loud. I am so disappointed and back on the couch with the TV on to try to drown it out.
I need an answer and I need to move. I cannot bear this any longer and I will not put up with this for Dennis and our pets either. My head felt like stew when I left the house yesterday to go shopping because the vibration was so strong. I don’t know what it is doing to us but I have the worst headache in the world right now.
I have to go to school all this week. I want you to call Dennis Monday and tell him what is going on. Gary, I am pleading with you to make this vibration in our house stop. It is absolutely maddening.”
Email to: Ministry of Environment Officials
From: a resident of Amaranth/Melancthon, Ontario
Date: Wednesday March 25, 2009 (18:18 :53)
I would like to request a meeting with everyone to solve this ongoing problem at our property. We have vibration in our house virtually every night, some rare nights not.
I have not been lately, and will not email Canadian Hydro anymore as I do not have any faith that they are trying to help us and please note, this lack of correspondence does not suggest that things are any better in our house.
We have done nothing but try to help them figure this out and it appears that all of our input has been for nothing. Either they are refusing to acknowledge that we have a very big problem or they do not know anything about the business they are in and can’t fix it. This would never be allowed to continue in any industrial or commercial workplace. And even then, at least the employees get to go home to a quiet house to rest. Where in the world are the safety standards for the homeowners that have had this forced upon them? This is just insane.
I do not know at which point the body starts to break down with constant vibration going through it when it is supposed to be resting. I hate for my husband, our pets and myself to be the collection of lab rats that figures that one out for them. I have to ask you what you think we would be doing right now if we had children at home? Think about it.
I cannot put our house up for sale and move. Nobody could live here, and that was echoed by S_ _ H_ _ _ _ (employee of the developer) as he sat at our table a month or so ago. What are we supposed to do? We need help, Please….”
From New York State
ORLEANS TOWN COUNCIL TO CONSIDER STRICT POWER ZONING REGULATIONS
AUGUST 28, 2011
By NANCY MADSEN
LAFARGEVILLE — The Orleans Town Council is weighing zoning law amendments that will make its rules for wind turbine placement among the most restrictive in the region.
The town of Henderson banned all wind energy towers in November. Orleans would still allow commercial and residential turbines, but the noise and setback rules would make placing turbines in the town very difficult. A public hearing continued from Aug. 11 will be reconvened at 8 p.m. Sept. 8 at the town offices, 20558 Sunrise Ave. Copies of the law are available at the town office.
The law was written and reviewed by the Planning Board after the town’s Wind Committee made zoning recommendations in October 2009 and a Wind Economics Committee made further recommendations in May 2010.
“The Planning Board wrote it, which basically went with what the committee members had suggested — it’s very strict,” town Supervisor Donna J. Chatterton said. “Pretty much, it’s a stop to having any, but they can change it.”
The proposed law would push turbines away from neighboring property lines, roads, the St. Lawrence River, neighboring town lines, state- and federally regulated wetlands and residential, historic, school and wildlife refuge areas by 3,000 feet or 10 times the diameter of a turbine’s blade sweep area, whichever is greater.
The noise regulation sets absolute levels for daytime, evening and nighttime in both the A-weighted, or basically audible spectrum, and C-weighted, or low-frequency, noise levels. If the background noise is greater than five decibels below the standard, the allowed noise level would be five decibels above the background noise level.
For example, the allowed noise level for daytime, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., is 45 decibels on the A-weighted scale and 63 decibels on the C-weighted scale. But if the A-weighted background noise during that period reaches 44 decibels, the allowed limit would be 49 decibels. If the turbines emit a steady pure tone, which sounds like a whine, screech or hum, the allowed noise limit is decreased by five decibels.
During the evening period, 7 to 10 p.m., the law would allow 40 decibels in the A-weighted scale and 58 decibels in the C-weighted scale. And during the nighttime period, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., the law would allow 35 decibels in the A-weighted scale and 53 decibels in the C-weighted scale.
Residents within two miles of the project would have a property value guarantee, which requires appraisals before turbine construction and when residents try to sell their properties in the first five years after construction of the wind farm. The developer and property owner would agree on an asking price, based on an appraisal, and the developer would pay the difference between the asking price and sale price.
Other regulations include:
■ The Town Council and Variance and Project Oversight Board must approve change of ownership of the project or the project’s controlling entity.
■ Notification of the project’s pending application to the town is required to be sent to all landowners within two miles of the project’s boundaries.
■ Submission of studies are required on the project’s creation of shadow flicker, visual impact, noise, electromagnetic interference, transportation issues, ice and blade throw, stray voltage and wildlife harm as well as an emergency response plan, current property value analysis, operation and maintenance plan, decommissioning plan, earthquake preparedness manual and cultural, historical and archeological resource plan.
■ Submission of an escrow agreement, proof of liability insurance of $20 million per year and wind speed data from a year prior to construction are required.
■ Turbine and blade height are limited to 400 feet.
■ An annual report from the owner or operator on the operation and maintenance activities are required so that the town can compare the project’s plan and its actual results, and its noise projections and actual noise levels.
The proposed law goes into great detail on how sound measurements should be taken. The council has flexibility on applying fines for lack of compliance with the regulations.
The amendments do not substantially change rules for personal wind towers.
Wind power development critics support the amendments and said the town should not fear the state’s placing turbines against the town’s proposed law under the rejuvenated Article X electricity development law.
“The setbacks are great,” said Patricia A. Booras-Miller of the Environmentally-Concerned Citizens Organization. “They were thinking of Article X, too; there’s a lot of documentation to support their reasons.”
The town feels urgency, too, to pass the law before a new slate of council members is elected in November. The council must act on an environmental review of the law, so the law may not pass at the September meeting.
“We want to go the next step so we can get approved before the end of the year, before our board changes,” Ms. Chatterton said.