This week, the town of Caitlin, south of Watkins Glen, got cold feet over a proposal to build a wind farm.
The town board was poised to pass a local law that would open the door for a Florida company to build a wind-driven electrical generation facility in this sparsely populated, mostly agricultural Chemung County area. The company has 30 leases already signed by landowners allowing for placement of an undetermined number of wind turbines.
But the town reversed course and now has asked its attorney to draft a law to ban such wind farms.
This sudden political wind shift has its roots in local citizen opposition based on concerns about noise, visual blight and environmental issues. It also springs from fears the state could usurp town authority to set conditions on the wind farm — conditions that might be far less stringent than what town officials would require.
But at the bottom of it all is a sense of unease — shared by many Finger Lakes residents — over any project that seems, well, just way too big, too complicated or too difficult to control.
Wind power facilities, landfills, casinos, hog farms, or liquid propane gas storage — take your pick. It seems like very little proposed development is set to a scale that would seem reasonable, appropriate or often even controllable.