Wind turbine debate churns in Clarence

Local News

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) – Residents in Clarence are debating whether a wind turbine can be defined as a ‘farm machine’ and therefore be allowed to be installed in a ‘Right to Farm’ community. The Clarence Zoning Board of Appeals is discussing the issue at a meeting Tuesday evening.

The owners of Thompson Brothers Greenhouse on Clarence Center Road spend about $1,000 a month in electricity to keep their plants warm. They say if they could build a wind turbine, it would pay for itself in a couple years.

“I think it’s the wave of the future,” Dawn Trippie, who co-owns the greenhouse with her husband Ken Thompson, said.

“I’m the third generation operating this farm, and I see it as a way to go green. Everybody wants to go green.” said Thompson. He was there long before dozens of patio homes were built across Clarence Center Road a few years ago, but some of those homeowners don’t to want to look at a 133 foot wind turbine.

Neighbor Thom Palmer points out that it would be more than twice the size of the 60 foot height limit allowed in the Town of Clarence.

“One hundred and thirty feet. The height of a 12 story office building in the middle of a field. You have a visual impact with the blade turning, you also have a sound impact,” said Palmer, when describing some of the reasons he doesn’t want to see the turbine constructed near where he lives.

Last year, the Clarence Zoning Board of Appeals allowed a turbine the same size on Salt Road; but in that area there were fewer neighbors.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the board will consider allowing one closer to Clarence Center.

“The Department of Agriculture and Markets has done an investigation and ruled that it is a piece of farm equipment,” says Trippie, defending his right to build the 130′ tall wind turbine. “If the Town denies us, they’re being unduly restrictive to my right to farm laws.”

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