What's better than a public hearing? Two public hearings! The Town of Andover Board presented a second public hearing about the proposed wind laws on Tuesday evening at 6pm. Attendance was good with roughly 40 human persons* in attendance. Town Supervisor, Gus Webber was a noted absence and was missed. Mandi Joyce-Phelps stood in to host the public hearing.
The public was invited to ask questions and give feedback on the proposed revised wind law that had been posted on the town website. There were several questions in regard to the review process and how the law would be submitted. The board stated that once the Town Board voted to adopt the law the law would be submitted to the county advisory board and then on to the state, unless the advisory board had suggested changes which the Town board could take under advisement. When pressed by members of the public it was stated that there is no lawyer on the county advisory board, but the law would be reviewed by the towns lawyer. They went on to explain that the entirety of the law had been taken from other towns laws, particularly the town of Independence, who did hire a lawyer for review.
There were lots of questions about lawyers. A member of the public did also volunteer to provide funds to have the law reviewed by a specialized lawyer. The town board stated they would be open to that. However, the board expressed that time was of the essence as at present there is no law whatsoever on the books and further delay in implementing the law may give time for wind companies to take further actions under the present situation, which is no law, if any property owners signed leases. It was stated that the board intended to vote to implement to present law at the following board meeting and would make amendments as needed in the future.
Other topics of interest brought up by the community were in regard to property values and property assessments. Board member Mandi Joyce-Phelps, who has been involved in real estate for many years expressed that there are a lot of factors that go into property values and that a law cannot guarantee property values in any way, however she would look into how wind turbines may affect property assessments.
There were also some questions about proper public notification of public hearings as it was felt that there were a lot of folks who were not aware of the meeting. Town Clerk Tasha Rossrucker stated that the notice had been published in the Spectator, at the post office, on the Town bulletin board, and on Facebook, which was a new addition following last month's public hearing. Public notice must be made 5 days prior to the public hearing and Tasha stated that the town was in compliance on that. She did also state that she would be sure it was on the town website as well in future.
The public hearing was a 7/10. It was fairly brief and well under the threshold for a pleasant meeting. However, Gus wasn't there and that was kind of a bummer. The other board members did a good job of carrying on in his absence, but it just wasn't the same.
Since Gus wasn't going to be there anyway, I did not stay to enjoy the regular Town Board meeting. I've been assured that nothing exciting happened beyond paying some bills, reading some reports, and adopting the wind law.
There is another public hearing tonight at 6pm on the subject of the town bridge. If you didn't make it to last night's public hearing and want to be a part of the community discourse you have yet another opportunity. It'll be great. Don't miss out!
*We're assuming. No ID or documentation was checked.