Airtricity (parent corporation, German utility and wind developer E.On Netz) proposed a 36-turbine wind farm proposal in Hartsville (31 turbines) and Hornellsville (5 turbines). Former town board Supervisor George Prior approved Steuben County IDA as "lead agency" on the project, and on February 26, 2009 a Draft EIS was accepted by SCIDA. E.On was planning for a larger 76-turbine project.
In 2007 a new town board adopted a local permitting law after finding that "[r]egulation of the siting and installation of wind turbines is necessary for the purpose of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of neighboring property owners and the general public." Under Hartsville Local Law No. 1 of 2007 wind turbines are limited to 450 feet high and may not increase local sound levels by more than 6 decibels.
In 2008 Town Supervisor Steve Dombert led a divided town board to adopt a moratorium on wind farms until local siting regulations can be further studied, and in November 2009 the board plans to introduce a new local wind law adding setbacks from turbines of 2,640 feet unless the project developer obtains neighbors' consent to closer turbines.
Town board member Michelle Herr Necker was disqualified from voting because she had a contract with E.On to allow turbines on her land. Ms. Herr Neckar brought a lawsuit against Dombert in 2008 that was dismissed in its entirety in 2009, but the town's defense was costly.
In the November 2009 elections a number of pro-wind candidates ran but none were elected. In December 2009 the Town Board adopted a new wind energy facilities siting law, which was supported by the next Town Supervisor Zena Andrus, who took office in January 2010.
Local Law No. 2 of 2009 was drafted with then-proposed Public Services Law Article 10 in mind. Article 10 preempts local permitting of power plant facilities with a rated capacity of 25 MW or more, which includes wind farms, but requires the state Siting Board empaneled for each project to apply the provisions of local zoning restrictions unless the project sponsor demonstrates specific provisions are unreasonable in light of the technology.
Hartsville's local law includes limits on wind turbine noise that are well supported by research cited in the local law's findings section, and will accordingly require a strong showing by any developer that those findings are unreasonable. In the years since the law was adopted, much peer-reviewed acoustic research has confirmed those findings.