The Town Crier

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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.




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