Town of Cape Vincent Zoning Ordinance Committee reviews draft zoning and wind turbine exclusion maps.

At the beginning of the Tuesday, April 24 Town of Cape Vincent Zoning Ordinance committee meeting, Chairman Bob Brown discussed the most recent citizen comments that were filled out and entered into the three ring binder that is available at the meetings for additions and public review.

One citizen's comment asked the committee for the same protections from industrial wind turbines for Rosiere residents that were being afforded the kids while they are in school since, in the draft ordinance, the schools have a 1.5 mile radius protection circle drawn around them. The reasoning for the comment was based on the fact that kids spend 6.5 hours a day in school but families are home 14 hours a day. Also, it was asked if the committee had considered requiring night time shut down for any proposed industrial wind turbines.

The committee was presented with a copy of a letter from town engineer, Kris Demmick, Bernier Carr & Associates, that verified and supported all of the various recommended setbacks for industrial wind turbines from roads, property and town lines. Among others, a setback of six times the turbine height to blade tip was recommended from industrial wind turbines. Also included in those recommendations were setbacks for sound (35 Decibel) at property lines and setbacks in the event of the throwing of objects or blade parts. The town engineer has said that these recommendations could be defended in the courts.

The committee has also received a letter from sound experts Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc. confirming the direction of the committee with their wind turbine noise restrictions and setbacks. And they said, yes, they would support the committee's work in court.

The committee held a discussion regarding their recent trip to Syracuse to consult with and update their progress with Attorney Paul Curtin. One thing that they came back to the committee with was the opinion from Curtin that, no, you can't ban industrial wind turbines. However, Curtin agreed with their scientific work and said he would defend in a court of law the present zoning restrictions based on the data leading to the setbacks that the draft zoning law has thus far addressed. 

The committee then reviewed a revised tall structure section of the zoning law which put all of the setbacks together into the same section of the law and included a table of those setbacks.

The proposed industrial wind turbine exclusions in the draft and described on a new Town of Cape Vincent map recently drawn by Jefferson County  are:

-A 1.25 mile radius exclusion zone drawn from the center of the major population centers of the town. Those population centers are the Village of Cape Vincent, Millen's Bay and Rosiere.
Town of Cape Vincent Zoning Ordinance Chair,
Robert Brown explains a new industrial wind
turbine exclusion map based on their
draft ordinance.

-A 1.5 mile radius exclusion zone drawn from the center of the School grounds at Sand Bay and in the Village of Cape Vincent.

-A 1.25 mile, on both sides, of Route 12E for the protection of what has been already designated as both a State and  a National Scenic Highway. It is also promoted as part of the Seaway Trail.

Chairman Brown and the committee agreed that Attorney Curtin was advising that they could not protect loss of property values by eliminating the view of wind turbines from the town's   five islands (Submerged Little Granadier is still consider and island.) and the river and the lake. But Curtin said that he could defend in a court of law a two mile exclusion from the waterfront. But based on the science and not because someone may think that industrial wind turbines "are not pretty".

Not shown on the wind turbine exclusion map was a 2800' protection from industrial wind turbine area drawn parallel from the town lines of Clayton and Lyme.

After the exclusion areas were drawn on the draft map prepared by the County, there were two distinct "white" areas that were left. But, upon further examination and because of the required industrial wind turbine setbacks based on noise and danger of throw, it did not appear that there was any room left for a viable industrial wind turbine project in the town of Cape Vincent.

The committee also reviewed the new draft town "Zoning Map" which also was prepared for them by Jefferson County. Several revisions on the map were suggested. One was the expansion of the commercial zone to include the triangle that is created by the intersection of James St. and Route 12E. And the other was an area definition for all the town's municipal properties such as the village barn area and the town's dump.

Upon completion of the first draft, the Town of Cape Vincent zoning law will become available for public review on the town website. Then, it will be reviewed again and then put into a final form that will go to the the Town Attorney and then will come back to the public during the formal public hearing process. It is on schedule to go to the Town Board in late summer or early fall 2012.


  1. Anonymous4/25/2012

    Thanks to the town committee and its scientific, legal and rational approach to the industrial wind turbine impact situation. When do we get a look at the new law?

  2. Anonymous4/25/2012

    To say 35 decibels is a setback is misleading. What does this actually equate to in distance?

    The world health organization is recommending a 2km (1.2 miles) setback to prevent audible noise.

    What is the science that defends a two mile (compared to five) setback from the waterfront?

    Why should the people in the center of the population centers deserve additional protection than those who live on the outer edges of these areas? The 1.2 mile setback should be from the perimeter of the towns.

  3. Anonymous4/25/2012

    So, Addie Russel declares that she believes the Article X siting board will not allow any industrial wind turbines in the 1000 Islands area because of its obvious scenic value.

    Paul Curtin(Cape vincent's new zoning lawyer) says he can't defend zoning restrictions based on viewshed protections.

    Sounds like we hired the wrong lawyer. (Again)

  4. Anon. 6:58.

    Refer to this link for a GE noise chart.

    The chart shows 40 Db and leveling off at 2000 feet. If it were continued the 35 Db noise would stretch much further. And that is not for the big ones that GE now is making and Bp is considering for our town.

    The committee, in consulting with Cavenaugh Tocci,
    has much more on noise than I reported and that setback is much more definitive in the actual law.

    I have often referred to the WHO 1.2 mile recommendation because news reports from Austrailia and other places were quoting that.

    However further extensive research by many including myself and committee members have not been able to substantiate that the WHO has actually written that recommendation.

    The WHO does talk about noise from trains, factories and other sources in dense populations but not specifically declare a 2 K setback recommendation for industrial wind turbines.

    Perhaps if you have the WHO confirmation, you could forward it to the committee.

    As it was discussed during the meeting, The science that defends the waterfront setback is based on actual habitation rather than
    whether or not someone on the water thinks they are pretty or not.

  5. The bottom line is this: these kinds of projects simply do not belong in the relatively compact and reasonably well populated rural communities of the northeastern states.

    The wind industry doesn't care about that reality, but our politicians should. They (particularly the region's governors)should be about protecting us rather than falling all over eachother trying to claim "green" credentials, acting as promoters for Big Wind

  6. Anonymous4/25/2012

    The only way BP will decide to actually build a project here is if they decide to go for broke and mount a test case under Article X against the pesky little town of Cape Vincent.

    I hope they are smarter business people than that.

    But if they are stupidly stubborn in a non-businesslike fashion, they will be in for one hell of a David vs. Goliath fight!

  7. Anonymous4/25/2012


    Of course that is your opinion. One that you should take up perhaps at a town meeting with Mr. Curtin present so you can tell him and all the town people who vetted him why you think he is the wrong lawyer.

    Be careful about getting caught up with a small group of self appointed experts in town law who are providing amateur legal advice on the wind turbine zoning issue.

    The outright wind ban opinion has been beat to death, has been heard, not ignored, has been discussed at length for many years and with recent developments in the State does not appear to be the direction that is being agreed upon by duly appointed committees.

    Now it appears that those who believe in the ban will attempt to seduce the pro wind by attacking other opinions in an effort to storm the public hearing with objections to the zoning law as they beat down the rational approach to zoning and facilitate the placement of turbines in our town because they haven't gotten their way with an outright ban.

    Throwing the whole town to the wind wolves just because you don't get your way on a minority opinion that has been discussed at length and not ignored at they claim is destructive to others and only important to those whose only goal is a personal win.

    Ironic but there are signs that it could happen.

  8. TI


    As proven during the committee's extensive work, considering the protection of every single home in the town including the pro-wind who have risked their homes and lifestyles by signing good neighbor agreements.

    There is no room in our area for industrial turbines.

    In applying all of the setbacks to the area not in turbine exclusion zones, I see no chance for industrial wind turbines other than a very short ones. Even then, finding a place would be very difficult and of no commercial value except to perhaps serve a business which would not qualify for that area either unless it fell under agriculture.

  9. Outright ban is ancient thinking.4/25/2012


    Addie Russell also declared that communities should provide sound zoning laws based upon their uniqueness and the science and said it would not be best to test the courts with an outright ban which would challenge the State Wide Article X that rules that town's must not write laws that are overly burdensome.

    What could be more overly burdensome than a ban on a singled out industry?

    The outright ban theory is an ancient theory that made at least some sense before Article X became law.

    But, it was relegated to those who did not have the resources or time for the extensive work it takes to revise and write zoning based on the science, health and welfare.

    I am sure the legal advisors to the NYS Assembly were thinking "outright ban" when they drafted that law and used the term "overly-burdensome".

    Of course, you do have to have faith that Ms.Russell is not sandbagging your town. But remember, she did vote no to Article X along with Ritchie and Blankenbush.

    And she has taken a step to assist your town and face the people in business development.

    And she did address the issue head on with her Jef College audience.

    That was a bipartisan effort in a county which has 25,374 Republicans to 17,671 registered Democrats.

    And, yes of course she wants to be re-elected.

    Anyone who is politically astute should be wooing Ritchie, Blankenbush, Russell and Matt Doheny for their support in keeping industrial wind out and tourism and light industry in the Golden Crescent, Oswego Shores and TI regions.

    Remember, Bill Owens has declared his affinity for big industrial wind and supports the massive subsidies that go with it at all levels. As a Democrat, I supported him before but will not on the industrial wind issue. And, because he has not been out front on promoting the other assets of the region.

    All of the others have.

  10. Anonymous4/25/2012

    This is the type of research that one would expect from our Town Fathers from the very beginning back in 2005. Talk about having the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time. That certainly is an under statement!

  11. Anonymous4/25/2012

    I want my money! I want my money, dammit!

  12. Anonymous4/25/2012

    Look for much higher assessments and taxes. Karne Stumpf and Gary King have been making the case that there is actually a raise in land value because of wind. She has said that publicly to the town meets.

  13. Anonymous4/25/2012

    These turbine exclusion areas are very discriminatory. Unless there is a forthcoming explanation of some convoluted science that makes one group of residents deserve more protection than any other group. What science determines a setback based on "actual habitation",and why should this be any different than the "actual habitation" anywhere else in the township.

    When something is not logical, you can't make it so by applying descriptive labels such as "science based", and "actual habitation". Is there such a thing as un-actual habitation?

    Why should someone living in the middle of the village,receive more protection than someone living a 1/2 mile away on the very edge of town, or someone living just outside the 1.2 mile exclusion zone?

    For all the bad press given to the idea of an outright ban ,when it comes to giving equal protection to all residents, a ban is by far more fair in principle.

  14. Anonymous4/30/2012

    "Why should someone living in the middle of the village,receive more protection than someone living a 1/2 mile away on the very edge of town, or someone living just outside the 1.2 mile exclusion zone?"

    You obviously do not understand the concept of zoning.

    You need to consult with any lawyer who specializes in town law. He/she might be able to explain it to you.

    For most, however, it is a concept that is easily understood.