Town of North Collins, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of North Collins 4-8-2015 by L.L. No. 1-2015. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Joint Planning Board — See Ch. 42.
Zoning Board of Appeals — See Ch. 76.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 121.
Noise — See Ch. 160.
Site plan review — See Ch. 206.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 220.
Zoning — See Ch. 265.

§ 258-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY FACILITIES OR EQUIPMENT
Any structure other than a wind turbine related to the use and purpose of deriving, collecting or distributing energy from such wind turbines, located on or associated with a wind energy conversion system, small wind energy conversion system or wind measurement tower.
NACELLE
The covering or housing that holds the turbine.
PERMIT
A permit issued pursuant to this chapter granting the holder the right to construct, maintain and operate a wind energy conversion system or wind measurement tower.
PROPERTY LOT LINE
The perimeter lines of a separate parcel of land as appearing on the tax rolls of the Town of North Collins.
PUBLIC ROAD
Any federal, state, county, city, Town or village road which is open to the public, or any private road regularly used by multiple persons for access to separate off-site parcels of land, access to which is unrestricted by the owner(s) of such private road.
RESIDENCE
Any dwelling located off site which is suitable for habitation on the date a permit application is received by the Town for a wind energy conversion system, small wind energy conversion system or wind measurement tower. A residence may be part of a single or multifamily dwelling or multipurpose building and shall include buildings such as hotels, motels, and day-care centers.
SETBACK AGREEMENT
Any agreement, contract, easement, covenant or right in land which burdens land for the benefit of an applicant or permittee, such that the burdened land is similar in character to land on which any wind energy conversion system is situated. A setback agreement must expressly release any right which the owner(s) of such burdened land may have in the enforcement of this chapter, and acknowledge the applicable requirements of this chapter. All setback agreements shall run with the land and be publicly recorded in order to inform any potential purchasers of such land of the same or at least for as long as any permit issued under this chapter shall remain in effect. In the event a setback agreement lapses prior to the full decommissioning of a wind energy conversion system, small wind energy conversion system or wind measurement tower, the previously burdened land shall be considered off site and the applicant, permittee or owner of the same shall be required to bring the project into compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
SITE
The parcel(s) of land where a wind energy conversion system, small wind energy conversion system or wind measurement tower is to be placed. The site can be publicly or privately owned by an individual or group of individuals controlling single or multiple adjacent parcels. Where multiple lots are in joint ownership, the combined lots shall be considered as one for purposes of applying setback requirements. Any property which has a utility-scale wind energy conversion system, small wind energy conversion system or wind measurement tower or has entered an agreement for said facility or a setback agreement shall not be considered as "off site."
SMALL-SCALE WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM
A wind energy conversion system consisting of a wind turbine, a tower, and/or associated control or conversion electronics and electrical collection and distribution equipment, and accessory facilities or equipment, which has a nameplate capacity of not more than 100 kilowatts.
TOTAL HEIGHT
The highest point above ground level of any improvement related to a utility-scale wind energy conversion system, small wind energy conversion system or wind measurement tower. Total height as applied to wind turbines shall include the highest point of any wind turbine blade above the tower.
UTILITY-SCALE WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM
Any wind turbine or array of wind turbines designed to deliver electricity to the power grid for sale with a combined production capacity of more than 100 kilowatts of energy, including all related infrastructure, electrical collection and distribution lines and substations, access roads and accessory structures, including accessory facilities or equipment.
WIND MEASUREMENT TOWER
A tower used for the measurement of meteorological data such as temperature, wind speed and direction.
WIND TURBINE
A wind energy conversion system consisting of a tower, nacelle and associated control or conversion electronics and equipment contained within or atop the tower together with associated control or conversion electronics and equipment.

§ 258-2 Utility-scale systems.

Any WECS which shall have one or more turbines taller than 150 feet as measured from the surface of the ground at the base of the tower to the apex of the blade, and/or whose maximum combined output, as shown by the manufacturer's rated capacity, exceeds 10 kW per hour, shall be required to comply with the regulations for utility-scale wind energy conversion systems.
A. 
Utility-scale WECS application process.
(1) 
Wind energy permit and building permit required.
(a) 
Prior to construction of any utility-scale WECS, the applicant shall first obtain a site plan recommendation from the North Collins Planning Board of the Town of North Collins, a building permit from the Town's Code Enforcement Officer, and, finally, a wind energy permit from the North Collins Town Board.
(b) 
All applications shall be initially presented to the Town Code Enforcement Officer who shall review the application to ensure it is complete. The Code Enforcement Officer shall then present the application to the Town Board at the next scheduled Board meeting. Upon initial review by the Town Board, the application shall be referred to the Planning Board for a site plan recommendation and overall recommendation(s) on the application. Upon receipt of the site plan approval and recommendation(s) of the Planning Board, the Town Board shall then schedule a public hearing which shall be held within 60 days after receipt of the Planning Board's recommendation(s). At the conclusion of all public hearings on the application, the Town Board shall vote upon issuance of a wind energy permit to the applicant.
(2) 
Application materials. All applications for a utility-scale WECS wind energy permit shall include the following information ("Initial Application Materials"):
(a) 
Name and address of applicant.
(b) 
Evidence that the applicant is the lawful owner of any private property upon which the WECS is proposed to be constructed (the "site") or has written permission from the owner to make such application.
(c) 
A proposed site plan in sufficient detail to show the following:
[1] 
Location of the tower(s) on the site including tower height, blade size and height, rotor diameter and ground clearance.
[2] 
Utility lines (above and below the ground).
[3] 
Property lot lines and the location and dimensions of all existing structures and uses on the site within 1,500 feet of the WECS.
[4] 
Surrounding land use and all off-site structures within 1,500 feet of the WECS.
[5] 
Description of the structural components of the tower construction, including the base and footing as well as all related structures.
[6] 
Existing topography, including bodies of water.
[7] 
Proposed plan for grading and removal of natural vegetation.
(d) 
SEQRA full environmental assessment form.
(e) 
Such additional information as may be required by the Town for an adequate review of the proposed project.
(f) 
The Town may, upon request of the applicant, and for good cause demonstrated by the applicant, determine that not all of the above materials are necessary for a particular proposed project.
(3) 
Subsequent application materials. Upon receipt of the above initial application materials, the Town Planning Board may determine if the proposed project concept may be appropriate based upon the materials submitted. Such screening determination shall not constitute an approval of the project nor bind the Town to eventual approval of the project. In the course of its review and recommendation process, if the Planning Board determines it to be helpful, the Planning Board may provide further direction to the applicant on the methodologies and parameters of further studies to be provided including:
(a) 
Proposed plan for site restoration after construction, prepared according to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines.
(b) 
Plan for ingress and egress to the proposed project site, including a description of the access route from the nearest roadway; road surface materials to be used; width and length of access route; dust-control procedures during construction and transportation, and road maintenance schedule or program.
(c) 
Detailed construction plans, including, but not limited to, construction schedule; hours of operation; designation of heavy haul routes en route to the project site; lists of materials and equipment and loads to be transported; identification of temporary facilities to be constructed; and the contact representative in the field with his/her name and phone number.
(d) 
Erosion and sediment control plan.
(e) 
Specific information on the type, size, height, rotor material, rated power output, performance, safety and noise characteristics of each utility-scale wind turbine model, tower and electrical transmission equipment.
(f) 
Photographs and/or detailed drawings of each wind turbine model including the tower and foundation.
(g) 
Visual assessment, including a detailed or photographic simulation showing the site fully developed with all proposed wind turbines and accessory structures from the nearest public highway and residence.
(h) 
A noise analysis shall be furnished which shall include the following:
[1] 
A description and map of the project's noise-producing features, including the range of noise levels expected and the tonal and frequency characteristics expected. The noise report shall include low-frequency, infra sound, pure tone and repetitive/impulsive sound.
[2] 
A description and map of the noise-sensitive environment, including any sensitive noise receptors which shall include residences, churches, farms, barns and similar structures within 2,000 feet from the site.
[3] 
A survey and report prepared by a qualified professional that analyzes the preexisting ambient sound levels on the site compared with the ambient sound levels on the site following construction of the WECS.
[4] 
A description and map showing the potential noise impacts including estimates of noise impacts from both construction and operation and estimates of expected noise levels at sensitive receptor locations.
[5] 
A description of the project's proposed noise-control features including measures proposed to protect workers and measures proposed to mitigate noise impacts for sensitive receptors.
[6] 
The manufacturer's noise design and field testing data, both audible (dBA) and low frequency (deep bass vibration) for all proposed structures.
(i) 
A geotechnical report which shall include information relative to soils and geologic characteristics evidencing assessment of the soil suitability for the construction of the proposed WECS; foundation criteria for all proposed structures; slope stability analysis and grading criteria for ground preparation, cuts and fills, and soil compaction.
(j) 
Engineering report prepared by a New York licensed professional engineer providing relevant information regarding the following potential risks. The report shall be used to determine the adequacy of setbacks from the property line to mitigate any effects from potential ice throw, tower failure or blade throw issues.
[1] 
Ice throw calculations: a report that calculates the maximum distance that ice from the turbine blades could be thrown and the potential risk assessment for nearby inhabitants and structures.
[2] 
Blade throw calculations: a report that calculates the maximum distance that pieces of the turbine blades could be thrown and the potential risk assessment for nearby inhabitants and structures.
[3] 
Fall zone: a report noting any rail lines, public trails and parks within the project site and fall zones, including existing structures.
[4] 
Catastrophic tower failure: a report from the turbine manufacturer stating the wind speed and conditions that the turbine is designed to withstand and the potential risk assessment for nearby inhabitants and structures.
[5] 
Certificate by licensed New York State professional engineer that the tower's design is sufficient to withstand any generally acceptable wind-loading requirements for structures including as established by the New York State Building Code.
(k) 
Lighting plan. The applicant shall submit a lighting plan that describes all lighting that will be required, including any lighting that may be required by the FAA. Such plan shall include the planned number and location of all lights, light color and whether any such lights will be flashing and mitigation measures planned to control the light so that it does not spill over onto neighboring properties.
(l) 
Shadow flicker study. The applicant shall conduct a study on potential shadow flicker. The study shall identify locations where shadow flicker may be caused by the WECS and the expected durations of the flicker at these locations. The study shall identify areas where shadow flicker may interfere with residences and describe measures that shall be taken to eliminate or mitigate the problem.
(m) 
Study of potential impacts to birds and bats using methodology approved by the NYSDEC or other agencies acceptable to the Town.
(n) 
Decommissioning and site restoration plan.
(o) 
FAA notification: a copy of written notification to the Federal Aviation Administration.
(p) 
Utility notification: utility and NYISO interconnection data and a copy of a written notification to the utility or NYISO of the proposed interconnection.
(q) 
Study of electromagnetic interference with microwave or other communications or broadcast sources. An application that includes any wind turbine which is located within two miles of any microwave communications link shall be accompanied by a study which identifies any potential impact on microwave or other communications or broadcast services and shall describe all measures that shall be taken to eliminate or mitigate any problems.
(r) 
Other information: such additional information as may be required by the Town for an adequate assessment of the proposed project. Such information may include a detailed property value study of the surrounding areas.
(s) 
The Town may determine that all or not all of these application materials are necessary for a particular proposed project.
(4) 
SEQRA review. Pursuant to the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, the Town may hire consultants to assist the Town in its review of the potential impacts of a proposed utility-scale WECS project. The Town will require that a sum sufficient to reimburse the Town for these expenses be deposited into an escrow account to be held by the Town upon execution of an escrow agreement providing that the funds will be used for such purpose as negotiated between the Town and the project applicant.
(5) 
Application fee. Prior to the Town undertaking a review of the initial application materials, the applicant shall deposit with the Town Clerk a sum representing a combined fee for site plan review, building permit application and wind energy permit. The amount of the fee shall be established by resolution of the Town Board from time to time, as set forth in the official schedule of fees of the Town of North Collins. In setting such fee, the Town Board shall consider a reasonable estimation by the Town of the personnel costs, public notice provisions, professional engineering, legal and other expenses that may be incurred by the Town in processing the application. The fee shall be nonrefundable and shall be in addition to any escrow amount under Subsection A(4) above and also in addition to any amounts allowed by 6 NYCRR 617 et seq.
B. 
Standards of operation. The Town shall use the following criteria to evaluate all utility-scale wind energy conversion systems:
(1) 
Setbacks. All utility-scale WECS shall comply with the following setback provisions:
(a) 
All wind turbines and towers shall be set back from property lines a minimum of 1,500 feet or 3.25 times the height of the tower, including the tip of the blade, whichever is greater, excluding adjoining lot lines where both are part of the proposed project.
(b) 
All wind turbines and towers shall be set back from all existing buildings and structures, or any buildings or structures for which a building permit has been issued, a minimum of 1,500 feet or 3.25 times the height of the tower, including the tip of the blade, whichever is greater. The Town may, in its discretion, exempt buildings which are not meant for regular human or animal occupancy such as tool sheds and storage barns and similar structures.
(c) 
All wind turbines and towers shall be set back from any public road right-of-way a minimum of 750 feet or 1.5 times the height of the tower, including the tip of the blade, whichever is greater.
(d) 
The Town Planning Board, as part of its review, may in individual cases waive or amend any of the setback provisions upon a factual finding that the setbacks are not required for specific turbines or towers in order to achieve the goals of this chapter to protect neighboring property owners from unreasonable interference with the quiet use and enjoyment of neighboring or nearby properties. Such waiver shall include a written finding by the Town Planning Board for the factual basis for providing such a waiver or amendment of any setback. This waiver process shall not require the Zoning Board of Appeals approval, but rather, shall be treated as part of the application review and recommendation process before the Town Planning Board.
(2) 
Noise. All utility-scale WECS applications shall require the applicant to demonstrate that the proposed project complies with the following noise requirements. In order to enable the Town to make this determination, the applicant shall submit the noise assessment required in Subsection A(3)(h).
(a) 
Audible noise standards.
[1] 
Audible noise due to wind turbine operations shall not exceed 45 dBA for more than five minutes out of any one-hour time period nor exceed 50 dBA for any time period, at any property line of any lots which are part of the proposed project site.
[2] 
The sound level from the operation of a utility-scale WECS shall not increase by more than three dBA the nighttime or daytime ambient sound level at any sensitive noise receptors (e.g., residences, libraries, schools, places of worship and similar facilities), within 1,500 feet or 3.25 times the height of the proposed turbine, whichever is greater.
(b) 
Low-frequency noise: A utility-scale WECS shall not be operated so that impulsive sound below 20 Hz affects the habitability or use of any sensitive noise receptor.
(c) 
Noise setbacks: The Town may impose a noise setback that exceeds the other setbacks set for this section if it deems that such greater setbacks are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the community.
(d) 
Within one year after the commencement of commercial operations, the project proponent shall submit a noise study of operational conditions to ensure that the project is in compliance with the standards of this section. The study shall be based upon receptor points identified during the application review process. In addition to this initial noise study, the Town may require periodic additional noise studies.
(3) 
Noise and setback easements. In the event that a utility-scale WECS does not meet a setback requirement or exceeds the noise criteria above, the Town Board may grant a waiver of the setback and/or noise criteria [except for the setback requirement of Subsection B(1)(a)] in the following circumstances:
(a) 
Written consent from the affected property owners is presented to the Town stating they are aware of the WECS and the noise and/or setback limitations contained in the law and that they grant consent to allow noise and/or setback provisions which exceed the limits otherwise allowable or required; and
(b) 
In order to advise all subsequent owners of the burdened property, the consent, in the form required for a written easement agreement, shall be recorded in the Erie County Clerk's office within 30 days after issuance of the wind energy permit describing the benefited and burdened properties. Such easements shall be permanent and shall state that they may not be revoked without the consent of the burdened property owner(s) and the Town, which consent may be granted upon the decommissioning of the benefited WECS in accord with this chapter or the acquisition of the burdened parcel by the owner of the benefited parcel or the WECS.
(4) 
Interference with television, microwave and radio reception. The applicant shall submit information that the proposed construction of the utility-scale WECS will not cause interference with microwave transmissions, cellular transmissions, residential television interference or radio reception of domestic or foreign signals. The applicant shall include specific measures proposed to prevent interference and a complaint procedure and specific measures proposed to mitigate interference impacts.
(5) 
Interference with aviation and aviation navigational systems.
(a) 
The applicant shall provide documentation that the proposed WECS will not cause interference with the operation of any aviation facility.
(b) 
The applicant shall provide documentation that the proposed WECS complies with all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.
(c) 
Locking mechanisms to limit radar interference required. All utility-scale WECS shall include a locking mechanism designed to prevent the blades from rotating when not producing power in order to limit airport radar interference. This provision does not apply while the WECS is free wheeling during start-up and shutdown. The Town may modify or eliminate the requirement for a locking mechanism if sufficient evidence is presented that no significant airport radar interference will be caused by the proposed utility-scale WECS.
(6) 
Safety and security requirements.
(a) 
Safety shutdown. Each wind turbine shall be equipped with both manual and automatic controls to limit the rotational speed of the blade within the design limits of the rotor. A manual electrical and/or overspeed-shutdown-disconnect switches shall be provided and clearly labeled on the wind turbine structure. No wind turbine shall be permitted that lacks an automatic braking, governing or feathering system to prevent uncontrolled rotation, over speeding and excessive pressure on the tower structure, rotor blades and turbine components.
(b) 
Grounding. All structures shall be grounded according to applicable electrical codes.
(c) 
Wiring. All wiring between the wind turbines and the WECS substation shall be placed underground unless the Town determines this would not be prudent or practicable due to site-specific constraints. The application shall include site plan drawings showing the locations of all overhead and underground electric utility lines including substations for the project.
(d) 
Ground clearance. The blade tip of any wind turbine shall have ground clearance of not less than 50 feet.
(e) 
Climbability. Wind turbine towers shall not be climbable up to 25 feet above ground level.
(f) 
Access doors locked. All access doors to wind turbine towers and electrical equipment shall be lockable and shall remain locked at all times when operator personnel are not present.
(g) 
Signage. Appropriate warning signage shall be placed on wind turbine towers, electrical equipment and WECS entrances. Signage shall include two twenty-four-hour emergency contact numbers to the owner of the wind turbine in accordance with state and federal codes.
(7) 
Ice throw. The Town Board shall determine the acceptable ice throw range based upon the activities in the area, location and calculations of ice throw. The Board shall review, but not be bound by, the calculations and information presented by the applicant herein.
(8) 
Fire hazard protection. The applicant shall submit a fire control and prevention program that is appropriate and adequate for the proposed facility. The proposed program may include the following: fireproof or fire-resistant building materials; buffers or fire-retardant landscaping; availability of water; an automatic fire extinguishing system for all buildings or equipment enclosures containing control panels, switching equipment or transmission equipment; provision of training and fire-fighting equipment for local fire protection personnel and/or other emergency responders.
(9) 
Impact on wildlife and habitat. Development and operation of a utility-scale WECS shall be evaluated for any significant adverse impact on endangered or threatened wildlife or plant species or their critical habitats based upon criteria established by the federal or state regulatory agencies and as determined by the Town during the SEQRA review.
(10) 
Visual impacts.
(a) 
No advertising sign or logo, unrelated to the WECS itself, shall be placed or painted on any part of any utility-scale WECS.
(b) 
Wind turbines shall be painted an unobtrusive (e.g., white, gray or beige) color that is nonreflective. In order to reduce any daytime lighting requirements by the FAA, the Town Board may require consultation with the FAA to determine appropriate color and/or lighting requirements.
(c) 
When more than one wind turbine is proposed, the project shall use wind turbines whose appearance is similar throughout the project to provide reasonable uniformity in terms of overall size, geometry and rotational speed.
(d) 
Unless required by the FAA or by the Town, no lighting shall be installed on the WECS turbine or tower except for ground level security lighting.
(11) 
Shadow flicker. The WECS shall be designed such that the project shall minimize shadow flicker onto adjacent existing residences. Mitigation measures, which may include landscaping, shall be incorporated into any site plan and/or wind energy permit approval. The required shadow flicker study shall identify areas where shadow flicker may interfere with residences and describe measures that shall be taken to eliminate or minimize the problem.
C. 
Decommissioning and site restoration plan and bond.
(1) 
The applicant shall submit a decommissioning and site restoration plan, including cost estimate, to the Town for its review and approval prior to the approval of any wind energy permit. The restoration plan shall identify the specific properties it applies to and shall indicate removal of all buildings, structures, wind turbines, hazardous materials, access roads and/or driveways and foundations to 3.5 feet below finish grade. Road repair costs, if any shall be indicated, and all revegetation necessary to return the subject property to the condition existing prior to the installation of the WECS. The restoration plan shall reflect the site-specific character, including topography, vegetation, drainage and any other unique environmental features. The plan shall include a detailed estimate of the total cost (by element) of implementing the removal and restoration plan. The decommissioning plan shall include information regarding the anticipated life of the project.
(2) 
As a condition of permit approval, the Town shall require the project sponsor to execute and file with the Town Clerk a bond or other acceptable form of security in an amount sufficient to ensure the faithful performance of the removal of the WECS and the restoration of the site to original condition in accord with the decommissioning and site restoration plan.
(3) 
The sufficiency of such bond shall be confirmed at least every five years by analysis and report of the cost of removal and site restoration. Such report shall be procured by the sponsor and filed with the Town every five years. If the report demonstrates that the amount of the bond is insufficient, the bond amount shall be increased to the amount necessary to cover such cost within 10 days after the applicant's receipt of such report and the increased bond shall be filed with the Town Clerk.
(4) 
All bond requirements shall be fully funded before a building permit is issued.
(5) 
The decommissioning and site restoration bond shall be in effect for the entire duration of the permit.
(6) 
The applicant and his/her successors or assigns in interest, shall maintain the required bond funds for the duration of the wind energy permit.
D. 
Road bond.
(1) 
Construction of WECS poses risk of damage to local roads due to the large size of construction and transport vehicles and their impact upon roads and traffic safety. Construction and delivery vehicles shall use traffic routes established as part of the application review process. Factors in establishing such corridors shall include minimizing traffic impacts from construction and delivery vehicles; minimizing WECS-related traffic during times of school bus activity; minimizing wear and tear upon local roads and minimizing impact upon local traffic and business operations. Permit conditions may be imposed upon WECS to specific or limited routes.
(2) 
The applicant shall be responsible for remediation of damage to public roads caused by WECS-related traffic after completion of the installation of the WECS. To ensure that this remediation occurs, prior to issuance of a building permit, the sponsor shall post a public improvement bond in an amount determined by the Town to be sufficient to repair any damage that may occur to local roads during the construction phase of the project. The Town Attorney shall approve the form of the bond.
(3) 
In the event that any post-construction maintenance or replacement of WECS components which could affect local roads is necessary, the project sponsor shall notify the Town and a new bond for any potential damage related thereto shall be posted.
E. 
Certifications. The applicant shall provide the following certifications as part of the application. Said certifications shall certify compliance with good engineering practices and shall be provided prior to issuance of the wind energy permit:
(1) 
Certification of structural components. The foundation, tower and compatibility of the tower with the rotor and related equipment shall be certified in writing by a structural engineer licensed in New York. This certification shall be provided to the Town Code Enforcement Officer and shall be maintained in a permanent file.
(2) 
Certification of electrical systems. The electrical system shall be certified by a licensed electrical engineer in New York. The engineer shall certify compliance with good engineering practices and with the appropriate provisions of the electrical code that has been adopted by New York State. This certification shall be provided to the Town Code Enforcement Officer and shall be maintained in a permanent file.
(3) 
Certification of rotor overspeed control. The rotor overspeed control system shall be certified by a licensed New York mechanical engineer. This certification shall be provided to the Town Code Enforcement Officer and shall be maintained in a permanent file.
(4) 
Certification of seismic design. The applicant shall provide post-construction certification from a licensed New York engineer that the design and construction of the WECS protects against anticipated seismic hazards. This certification shall be provided to the Town Code Enforcement Officer and shall be maintained in a permanent file.
(5) 
Post-construction certification. After completion of construction of the WECS, the applicant shall provide a post-construction certification from a New York licensed engineer that the project complies with applicable codes and industry practices and has been complete according to design plans. This certification shall be provided to the Town Code Enforcement Officer and shall be maintained in a permanent file.
F. 
Liability insurance. Prior to issuance of the building permit, the project sponsor shall provide proof in the form of an insurance certificate or policy issued by an insurance company, that liability insurance has been obtained to cover damage or injury which may result from the failure of the tower, turbine or other components of the WECS. Such insurance policy shall provide coverage of not less than $5,000,000 and shall name the Town of North Collins as an additional named insured. Upon request, the sponsor shall provide updated proofs of coverage to the Town on any WECS constructed on Town property or Town rights-of-way.
G. 
Transfer of ownership.
(1) 
If ownership of the WECS facility, or ownership of the underlying land upon which the WECS facility is located, should change hands, the original holder of the wind energy permit, and subsequent owners, shall provide notification to the Town Clerk 90 days prior to the change of ownership.
(2) 
The new owner of the WECS facility shall present proof to the Town Clerk prior to taking ownership that the required bonds and insurance policies remain in full force and effect. The new owner shall provide a written statement to the Town Clerk that he/she is aware of the conditions and requirements of the wind energy permit which continue to govern the operation of the facility.
H. 
Inspections. Unless waived by the Town Board, wind turbines or towers over 150 feet in height shall be inspected by a New York State licensed engineer annually or at any other time upon request by the Town's Code Enforcement Officer that the wind turbine, tower or pole may have sustained structural damage. A copy of the inspection report shall be submitted to the Town's Code Enforcement Officer. Any fee or expense associated with this inspection shall be borne by the permit holder.
I. 
Permit revocation.
(1) 
A WECS shall be maintained in operational condition at all times, subject to reasonable maintenance and repair outages. "Operational condition" includes meeting all noise requirements and all other standards and requirements of this chapter and the wind energy permit conditions.
(2) 
Should a WECS become inoperative or should any part of the WECS be damaged or become unsafe or should a WECS violate a permit condition, the owner/operator shall remedy the situation within 90 days after written notice from the Code Enforcement Officer. Upon request, the Code Enforcement Officer may extend this period for an additional 90 days.
(3) 
Upon notice from the Code Enforcement Officer that the WECS is not repaired or made operational or otherwise not in compliance with the permit conditions, and the time frame provided in Subsection I(2) above has expired, the Town Board may hold a public hearing at which both the public and operator/owner are provided the opportunity to be heard and present evidence, including a plan to bring the WECS into compliance. Following the close of the public hearing, the Town Board may either order compliance within a reasonable time frame; or revoke the wind energy permit and order the removal of the WECS to commence within 90 days and the site remediation pursuant to the approved decommissioning and site restoration plan.
J. 
Decommissioning.
(1) 
Nonfunctional and/or inoperative utility-scale WECS defined.
(a) 
If any utility-scale WECS, or turbines remain nonfunctional or inoperative for a continuous period of one year, the permit holder shall remove the WECS at the permit holder's own expense and restore the site, in accordance with the approved decommissioning and site restoration plan. A utility-scale WECS shall be deemed nonfunctional and/or inoperative if it has not generated 20% of its original capacity of commercial power within the preceding 12 months.
(b) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may request that the applicant periodically submit documentation reporting the power output generated by the WECS.
(2) 
Use of decommissioning bond.
(a) 
Any nonfunctional or inoperative utility-scale WECS, or any utility-scale WECS for which the permit has been revoked, shall be removed from the site and the site restored in accordance with the approved decommissioning and site restoration plan within 90 days of the date on which the facility becomes nonfunctional or inoperative, as defined above, or of the revocation of the permit.
(b) 
If removal of the WECS is required and the applicant, permittee or successors fail to remove the WECS and restore the site in accordance with the approved decommissioning and site restoration plan, the permit holder by accepting the permit authorizes the Town Board to contract for such removal and restoration and to pay for the removal and restoration from the posted decommissioning and site restoration bond.
(c) 
If the bond is not sufficient, the Town shall charge the permit holder for the costs over and above the amount of the bond.
K. 
Town board action. Upon receipt of the Planning Board site plan approval and recommendation(s) upon the application, the Town Board shall hold a public hearing on the application. Upon completion of all public hearings, the Town Board may grant the wind energy permit, deny the wind energy permit or grant the wind energy permit with written stated conditions. Denial of the wind energy permit shall be in written form containing a decision based upon substantial evidence submitted to the Town. Upon issuance of the wind energy permit, the applicant shall obtain a building permit for each structure as required. Prior to issuing a wind energy permit for a utility-scale WECS, the Town Board shall make all of the following findings:
(1) 
The proposed utility-scale WECS project is consistent with the laws of the Town of North Collins.
(2) 
The proposed utility-scale WECS project will not unreasonably interfere with the orderly land use and master development plans of the Town of North Collins.
(3) 
The benefits to the applicant and the public of the proposed utility-scale WECS project will exceed any burdens to the Town and residents therein.
(4) 
That the proposed utility-scale WECS project will not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare of the community.
L. 
Amendments to approved use permit. Any changes or alterations to the WECS, after approval of the wind energy permit and site plan, other than routine repair or maintenance of the original towers and turbines installed, shall require amendment to the wind energy permit. Such amendment shall only be made in the discretion of the Town Board after a public hearing. The amendment shall be subject to all of the requirements of this section and any additional requirements reasonably related to the changes or alterations.
M. 
Host community agreement. All wind energy permits allowed under this chapter will be conditioned on the approval by the Town Board of a host community agreement to be negotiated between the Town and the applicant.

§ 258-3 Small-scale systems.

Any WECS which shall have only one turbine and such turbine shall not be taller than 155 feet as measured from the base of the pole at the surface of the ground to the apex of the blade, and or whose maximum combined output, as shown by the manufacturer's rated capacity, shall not exceed 10 kW shall be required to comply with the regulations for small-scale wind energy conversion systems.
A WECS whose capacity is between 10 kW and 100 kWh and/or has a proposed height between 155 feet and 200 feet, may apply for permission to be treated as a small-scale WECS for purposes of this application process for a wind energy permit under this section, provided that such WECS exceeding 155 feet must obtain a height variance and to be approved by the Planning Board.
A. 
Application process.
(1) 
Prior to any construction of any small-scale wind energy conversion system, the project proponent shall obtain a site plan approval from the Town of North Collins Planning Board, a building permit from the Town's Code Enforcement Officer, and a wind energy permit from the North Collins Town Board.
(2) 
All applications shall be initially presented to the Town Board by the Code Enforcement Officer. Upon initial review by the Town Board, the application shall be referred to the Town Planning Board for a site plan approval and overall recommendation(s) on the application. Upon receipt of the site plan approval and recommendation(s) of the Planning Board, the Town Board shall then schedule a public hearing which shall be held within 60 days after receipt of the Planning Board's recommendations. At the conclusion of all public hearings on the application, the Town Board shall vote upon issuance of a wind energy permit to the applicant.
(a) 
All applications for small-scale WECS wind energy permit shall include the following information:
[1] 
Name and address of the applicant.
[2] 
Evidence that the applicant is the owner of the property involved or has the written permission of the owner to make such application.
[3] 
A site plan drawing or diagram drawn in sufficient detail to show the following:
[a] 
Location of the proposed tower on the site and the tower height, including blades, rotor diameter and ground clearance.
[b] 
Property lot lines and the location and dimensions of all existing structures and uses on site within 300 feet of the wind energy conversion system.
[c] 
Dimensional representation of the various structural components of the tower construction, including the base and footing.
[d] 
Compliance with current version of AWEA standards for small wind energy systems, and utilizing a small wind energy conversion system on the current list of ITAC-certified wind turbines.
[4] 
Evidence that the proposed tower height does not exceed the height recommended by the manufacturer or the distributor of the system.
[5] 
Turbine information: specific information on the type, size, height, rotor material, rated power output, performance, safety and noise characteristics of the wind turbine and tower.
[6] 
Sufficient information demonstrating the system will be used primarily to reduce on-site consumption of electricity from the public electrical grid. Remote net metering shall be allowed if all locations ("host" and "satellite") are geographically within North Collins.
[7] 
Written evidence that the electric utility service provider that serves the proposed site has been informed of the applicant's intent to install an interconnected, customer-owned electricity generator, unless the applicant does not plan, and so states in the application, to connect the system to the electricity grid.
[8] 
Environmental assessment form (short form) pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.
[9] 
Such additional information as may be reasonably requested by the Town Board for a complete understanding of the proposed project.
[10] 
The Town Board may determine that not all of these requirements are necessary for a particular proposed project.
[11] 
A permit fee, in an amount as established by the Town Board from time to time.
B. 
Permit issued by the Town Board. Pursuant to the procedures and standards contained in this subsection, the Town Board may issue a wind energy permit to allow a small-scale WECS where the maximum turbine output, as shown by the manufacturer's rated capacity, exceeds 10 kW per hour, but does not exceed 100 kW per hour.
C. 
Application requirements. An applicant for a small-scale WECS that has an output exceeding 10 kW per hour but less than 100 kW per hour shall apply to the Town Board for a wind energy permit. Application material shall include:
(1) 
All the information listed in Subsection A above.
(2) 
An environmental assessment form (short form) pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.
(3) 
Any additional information that may be reasonably required by the Town Board for an understanding of the project.
D. 
Application review. The Code Enforcement Officer shall review the application for compliance with the required conditions and the concerns set forth in this part. When the application is complete, the Code Enforcement Officer shall present the same to the Town Board for initial review. Upon initial review by the Town Board, the application shall be referred to the Town Planning Board for a site plan approval and overall recommendation(s) on the application. Upon receipt of the site plan approval and recommendation(s) of the Planning Board, the Town Board shall then schedule a public hearing which shall be held within 60 days after receipt of the Planning Board's recommendations. At the conclusion of all public hearings on the application, the Town Board shall vote upon issuance of a wind energy permit to the applicant. Standards for small-scale WECS:
(1) 
Minimum lot size. A small-scale WECS shall be located on a lot that is a minimum of five acres in size.
(2) 
Significant ridgelines. A WECS shall not be located on any ridgeline designated as "significant" on the Town of North Collins Map.
(3) 
Only one small-scale WECS shall be allowed per prime lot. The system shall be primarily used to reduce the on-site consumption of electricity. Remote net metering shall be allowed if all locations ("host" and "satellite") are geographically located within North Collins.
(4) 
Height. The turbine, measured to the apex of the blade, is not taller than 155 feet.
(5) 
Capacity. The maximum turbine output, as shown by the manufacturer's rated capacity, shall not exceed 100 kW.
(6) 
Setbacks. All components of the small-scale WECS shall be set back a minimum of 1.5 times the total height of the WECS from:
(a) 
Any residence in existence at the time the application is made, except for the residence on the owner's lot.
(b) 
Property lines of the site on which the structure is located.
(c) 
The right-of-way of public roads.
(7) 
Visual impact. In order to reduce visual impact, the WECS shall be painted a nonreflective, unobtrusive color that blends the system and its components into the surrounding landscape to the greatest extent possible.
(8) 
Lighting. Exterior lighting on any structure associated with the system shall not be allowed, except lighting that is specifically required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
(9) 
Signage. No advertising sign or logo unrelated to the WECS itself, shall be placed or painted on any turbine or tower. The Town Board may allow the placement of the manufacturer's logo on a ground-level structure in an unobtrusive manner.
(10) 
Safety and security requirements. All small-scale WECS shall adhere to the following safety and security requirements:
(a) 
Safety shutdown. Each wind turbine shall be equipped with both manual and automatic controls to limit the rotational speed of the blade within the design limits of the rotor. The conformance of rotor and overspeed control design and fabrication with good engineering practices shall be certified by the manufacturer.
(b) 
Grounding. All structures which may be charged by lightning shall be grounded according to applicable electrical codes.
(c) 
Wiring. All wiring associated with the WECS system shall be installed underground within the fall zone. This standard may be modified by the Town Board if the terrain is determined to be unsuitable due to reasons of excessive grading, biological impacts or similar forces.
(d) 
Ground clearance. The blade tip of any turbine shall, at its lowest point, have ground clearance of not less than 30 feet.
(e) 
Climbability. Wind turbine towers shall not be climbable up to 15 feet above ground level and/or other appropriate methods of access control shall be provided.
(f) 
Anchor points for guy wires. Anchor points for any guy wires for a system tower shall be located on the property that the system is located on and not on or across any above ground electric transmission or distribution lines. The point of attachment for the guy wires to the ground shall be enclosed by a fence six feet high or sheathed in bright orange or yellow covering from three to eight feet above the ground. The minimum setback for the guy wire anchors shall be 10 feet from the property boundary.
(g) 
Signage. Appropriate warning signage shall be placed on wind turbine towers and electrical equipment. Signage shall also include one twenty-four-hour emergency contact number to the owner of the wind turbine, as well as signage warning of electrical shock or high voltage and harm from revolving machinery.
(11) 
Compliance with regulatory agencies. The applicant is required to obtain all necessary regulatory approvals and permits from all federal, state, county and local agencies having jurisdiction related to the construction of the small-scale WECS. If all such approvals have not been received at the time that the Town Board considers the application for a permit, receipt of these other agency approvals shall be a condition to be completed prior to the issuance of a building permit.
(12) 
Noise standard.
(a) 
Audible noise standard. Wind turbine operations shall not cause the noise level at the boundary of the proposed project site to exceed 45 dB(A) for any time period at the nearest property line. If the ambient noise level in the vicinity of the WECS already exceeds this standard, the operation of the WECS shall not increase the nighttime or daytime ambient sound level at an adjacent residence by more than 3 dB(A).
(b) 
Low-frequency noise. A small-scale WECS shall not be operated so that impulsive sound below 20 Hz adversely affects the habitability or use of any dwelling unit, hospital, school, library, nursing home or other sensitive noise receptor.
(13) 
Interference with television, microwave and radio reception. The WECS shall be operated such that no disruptive electromagnetic interference is caused. If it is demonstrated that a system is causing harmful interference, the system operator shall promptly mitigate the harmful interference or cease operation of the system.
(14) 
Erosion control. Prior to granting a permit for a small-scale WECS, the Town Board shall determine that the erosion and sedimentation control plan is adequate.
E. 
Town Board action on application. The Town Board shall receive a report from the Code Enforcement Officer on any application for a small-scale WECS permit as well as the site plan and recommendation of the Planning Board as provided in Subsection A above. After consideration of the application and relevant recommendations, the Town Board may grant the wind energy permit, deny the wind energy permit or grant the wind energy permit with written stated conditions. Denial of the wind energy permit shall be by written decision based upon the substantial evidence submitted to the Board. Upon issuance of the wind energy permit, the applicant shall obtain a building permit for the small-scale WECS prior to installation. Prior to issuing a wind energy permit for a small-scale WECS, the Town Board shall make the following findings:
(1) 
The proposed WECS project will not unreasonably interfere with the orderly land use development plans of the Town of North Collins.
(2) 
The proposed WECS project will not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare of the community.
F. 
Amendment to approved use permit. Any changes or alterations to the WECS, after approval of the permit, other than routine repair or maintenance of the original towers and turbines installed, shall require amendment to the permit by the Town Board. Such amendment shall be subject to all the procedural requirements and standards of this section
G. 
Permit revocation. Failure to abide by and faithfully comply with the standards of this section and with any and all conditions that may be attached to the granting of the wind energy permit shall constitute grounds for the revocation of the permit, after a public hearing. Construction must begin within one year after issuance of permit and be completed within two years after issuance of permit. The applicant may apply once for a six-month extension.
H. 
Abandonment of use.
(1) 
All small-scale WECS shall be maintained in good condition and in accordance with all requirements of this section
(2) 
Any WECS which is not used for 12 consecutive months shall be deemed abandoned and shall be dismantled and removed from the property at the owner's expense. The Town reserves the right to dismantle the structure and to charge back the cost of removal to the property owner. If unpaid, this cost will be added as a charge to the tax levy of the property. The owner shall have three months to remove the abandoned WECS.
(3) 
Failure to abide by and faithfully comply with the standards of this section and with any and all conditions that may be attached to the granting of the wind energy permit shall constitute grounds for the revocation of the permit, after a public hearing.
I. 
Assessment. A small-scale WECS shall not be subject to an assessment by the Town of North Collins.
J. 
WECS for agricultural use.
(1) 
Applications for WECS permits which are to be used solely for agricultural production (as defined in Agriculture and Markets Law § 301, Subdivision 4) located in a state or county agricultural district shall include the following information:
(a) 
Name and address of the applicant.
(b) 
Evidence that the applicant is the owner of the property involved or has the written permission of the owner to make such application.
(c) 
A drawing or diagram drawn in sufficient detail to show the following:
[1] 
Location of the proposed tower on the site and the tower height, including blades, rotor diameter and ground clearance.
[2] 
Property lot lines and the location and dimensions of all existing structures and uses on site within 300 feet of the wind energy conversion system.
[3] 
Dimensional representation of the various structural components of the tower construction, including the base and footing.
[4] 
Compliance with current version of AWEA standards for small wind energy systems, and utilizing a small wind energy conversion system on the current list of ITAC-certified wind turbines.
(d) 
Evidence that the proposed tower height does not exceed the height recommended by the manufacturer or the distributor of the system.
(e) 
Turbine information: specific information on the type, size, height, rotor material, rated power output, performance, safety and noise characteristics of the wind turbine and tower.
(f) 
Environmental assessment form (short form) pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.
(g) 
Such additional information as may be reasonably requested by the Town Board or Planning Board for a complete understanding of the proposed project.
(h) 
The Town Board may determine that not all of these requirements are necessary for a particular proposed project.
(i) 
A permit fee, in an amount as established by the Town Board from time to time.
(j) 
Only one small-scale WECS shall be allowed per five acres of agricultural land. The system shall be used solely to reduce the on-site consumption of electricity. Remote net metering shall be permitted if all agricultural locations ("host" and "satellite") are geographically located within North Collins.
(2) 
Upon receipt and review of the above, the Planning Board shall make appropriate recommendation(s) to the Town Board. The Town Board shall then schedule a public hearing which shall be held within 60 days after receipt of the Planning Board's recommendations. At the conclusion of all public hearings on the application, the Town Board shall vote upon issuance of a wind energy permit to the applicant.

§ 258-4 Payments in lieu of taxes.

Real Property Tax Law § 487. The Town of North Collins reserves the right to require the owner of a WECS to enter into a contract for payments in lieu of taxes as a requirement of receiving a wind energy permit. Such payment is and addition to, and not in lieu of, any payment required under a host community agreement.