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It’s in the air and doesn’t sound good


ANCRAM–Several residents who don’t think their neighbors are acting very neighborly came to tell the Ancram Town Board about it Thursday night, August 16.

Neighbors of two wind turbines on Winchell Mountain told the board they are plagued by noise from the structures.


Supervisor Art Bassin said he heard from Sean Morrison of Carson Road that the windmills near him are noisy, while the one on the Pulver Farm on Winchell Mountain Road is not.

The Ancram Zoning Board of Appeals okayed two special use permits for the construction of two 111-foot-high wind turbines on Michael Gershon’s three-acre property at 143 Carson Road in June 2010. Mr. Gershon built one of the turbines he was allowed and in October 2012, Joe Crocco of 132 Carson Road received approval for and built a 131-foot turbine.

Carson Road resident Joe Amato told the Town Board August 16 that the windmills make a variety of sounds depending how fast their blades are spinning. He said at a low velocity the sound is “below audible” but as the speed increases, the turbines emit a “foghorn sound,” which evolves into a “high pitch” and then, when the wind really picks up, it sounds like “the helicopters are landing.”

He said the sound is “deafening” and makes the windows in his house vibrate.

He theorized that is has to do with the “compression waves” that come from each turbine and “collide” over his house. He contended that the situation can be fixed and that the “installer screwed up.” He went on to describe that when the sun is low in the sky, the flickering effect of the sun’s reflection off the blades, creates a “disco” in his house.

Another resident said the wind turbines are a “neighborhood nightmare,” that the sound can be heard through the walls and makes him want to lock himself in a closet.

John Meigs of Carson Road said he and his wife are fans of alternative energies, but was surprised to learn that the “low end” wind mills like the ones installed near him are subject to emitting amplified sound waves when the blades are spinning against the wind.

Jane Meigs said Carson Road is a residential area and that the value of her property within 1,000 feet of the turbines has been negatively impacted.

Councilman Hugh Clark said acceptable noise standards are defined and contained in the town’s windmill law.

Supervisor Bassin asked all the speakers to send him emails about their concerns for the record.

In another neighbor versus neighbor matter, Wilma Parker, a resident of Wildflower Road, who spends half the year in Ancram and the other half in San Francisco, told the board that her neighbor has been “clear-cutting” his property and now, when it rains, the run-off ends up in her basement.

She asked the Town Board if there are any town laws regulating clear-cutting or run-off that her neighbor may have violated. She said her neighbor is “oblivious” to what laws there might be.

She also wanted to know whether there are laws pertaining to signs because the same neighbor has erected “large signs” bearing comments about the neighbors who are complaining about him. Wildflower Road is a private road.

Supervisor Art Bassin told Ms. Parker he was not aware of any laws about clear-cutting or run-off, but did say the town has sign laws. He said he would research the matter and get back to her.

In other business, the board:

*Heard from Town Justice Bob Wilcox about the details about a new court security system. The court has received a $2,650 grant to install the system, which will cost $2,975 in total. The court has the $325 to cover the difference in its budget. The system will cost $300/year to maintain. Judge Wilcox got one bid for the installation from a company that specializes in such work and is licensed by the state to do it. The board agreed to approve the expenditure without a competitive bid if after a review of the purchasing policy, the supervisor finds it is permissible.

*Heard from Town Historian Clara Van Tassel about a Historical and Cultural Plan Survey to be conducted throughout the town by Ruth Piwonka, a consultant in regional history, art and architecture. Ms. Piwonka who is an author and the current Kinderhook town and village historian, will look at all buildings and properties in town that are at least 50 years old, take a picture, write a description and include it in a listing and on a map she will develop. The board resolved to support the project and authorized the supervisor to raise about $12,000 for it through donations and grants. If necessary, the town will chip in a total of $2,000 toward the project; the funds would come out of the historian’s budget this year and next.

To contact Diane Valden email

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