Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wind Energy's Huge Profits at the Taxpayer's Huge Expense

Total Profit: Assuming 30% turbine efficiency, the first year profit for a 100 megawatt (67 turbine, 1.5 MW) project comes to, at a minimum, 18.7 million (from electricity sales + Federal Production Tax Credit + NYSERDA credit) + $8.7 million in tax savings = 27.4 million in year 1, the net cash flow goes up substantially in year 2, goes back to approx. 26.4 million in year 3, and drops down about half in years 4 and 5. The depreciation schedule is one of the incentives granted by .the federal and state governments. (Note-each company which takes over an existing windplant gets to take advantage of the same depreciation schedule as the original company. There is an obvious incentive to sell the wind project after 3 years of operation.)

A 747 in your backyard!

Points to remember:

Wind Energy companies should pay the regular tax rate, not Payment In Lieu Of Taxes.

Commercial wind power facilities will NOT reduce our need for oil.

Site location of large turbines should be 3 miles or more from any residence.

Property values drop when the property is surrounded by these giant structures.

Wind turbines should not be located closer than 1 mile to any gas well or pipe line due to the possibility of fires or explosions caused by turbines being struck by lightening, or mechanical failure, or the vibrations causing pipelines and wells to leak gas.

Due to the fact that these huge turbines are just now beginning to show up in populated areas, we are now just beginning to determine the health affects these structures will have on our health. More time is needed to determine the risks before building more turbines in populated areas.

Instead of giving the tax subsidies to these large corporations, you could have your own small wind generator and collect the subsidy yourself.

Insurance rates will have to rise to cover the additional liabilities of these huge turbines, if you are able to get insurance at all.

Assessment needs to be done of the potential impact of Wind Turbine Generators on adjoining smaller landowners, with emphasis on viewshed, noise, health and safety, and flexibility for the future use of the properties.

Setbacks are a form of zoning in reverse.

On properties smaller than 10 acres, the placement of a WTG nearby functionally confiscates a large percentage of the usefulness and value of the property without compensation to the landowner.

Did you know?

* Communication interruption... television and cell phone signals reflect off rotating turbine blades causing interference

*Risk to quantity and quality of well water... construction of huge foundations and construction run-off can affect area water wells

* Safety issues including: Deteriorating road conditions, minimum to zero security, stray voltage, fire hazards, constant maintenance requiring unknown service reps to be routinely in neighborhood, increased lightning strikes in vicinity

"Loss of wildlife habitat due to service roads and mechanical structures in otherwise natural areas - Industry commissioned studies often flawed and inadequate
increased traffic, increased chance of auto and pedestrian accidents

* Noise- low frequency and other noise caused most often by the aerodynamic slicing of the atmosphere - the #1 complaint of nearby residents

* Strobe effects- which flood onto properties and into homes when the blades eclipse the rising or setting sun - varies with season and location of towers

* Visual dominance- dose proximity to residences causes huge machines to be the most dominant element in the local experienced living environment and often cast large rotating shadows

* Blade tip speeds average between 200 and 300 mph when hub speeds are approx. 20-35 rpm's- creating the common danger of ice and blade fragment throw

"Loss of natural amenities and visual, quiet enjoyment - the outdoors no longer offers respite, loss of recreation

*Property devaluation -homes within one to two miles of commercial wind development have suffered significant losses documented to 30% and also fail to appreciate as they normally would without such development

Support Cohocton Wind Watch

Keep Cohocton Turbine-Free

Get your Turbine-Free bumper sticker at the June 8, 2006 question and answer Cohocton Wind Watch meeting. Donations accepted as well as contributions to the CWW legal fund.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Shannon and Jill Levee questions to the Cohocton Planning Board

5164 Lent Hill Road
Cohocton, New York 14826

Town of Cohocton
Planning Board
Cohocton, New York 14826

To Whom It May Concern:

Residing at 5164 Lent Hill Road in Cohocton, we have great interest in the Cohocton Wind Project. As residents researching the windmill information available to the public by ardent supporters such as the Town of Cohocton and UPC and concerned citizens such as Cohocton Wind Watch, we cannot help but recognize the conflicting facts presented. We cannot help but be confused. As requested at the Joint Planning Board Meeting of May 4th by Board Chairman Fox, we are submitting our questions and concerns in writing.

1. Supporters claim that windmills are not “that loud,” equivalent to a refrigerator, and cite Fenner towers as the example. Since Cohocton towers will be both larger and greater in number than those in Fenner, what specific noise dbs increase will be known? Since UPC information disagrees with some outside sources, such as Fenner residents themselves, what guarantees will be made in writing to the residents of Cohocton hills?

2. Concerning the property values of Cohocton taxpayers residing on the affected hills, what guarantees will the Town of Cohocton or UPC offer to homeowners whose views will now be only wind towers from the home’s windows, including front, back and side views? How can the Town of Cohocton and UPC claim this will not affect our particular home’s value as we will be virtually surrounded by the sight and noise of the towers? What evidence is available to support this claim?

3. We understand that the Town of Cohocton Board passed laws they believed to be in the best interest of Cohocton residents in regard to property lines, dwellings, roads and noise. However, we have already been contacted by UPC to sign-off on the 500 feet limit from our property line. First, was the Board aware of this? Secondly, what is the Town’s position; do they support this? Lastly, will the Town claim “Hardship” and simply work around us by moving the windmill closer to the road?

4. One stressed value of the wind towers is the revenue generated for the Wayland Cohocton School District. Will these be additional monies to the district? Or will this money simply impact the state formula for aid and make us less eligible for state monies, thus cluttering our hills and moving state funds elsewhere?

5. As with some other environmental projects, heavy fines and penalties are established to deter the large, outside corporations from violating laws that are in place. Who specifically will oversee this project to ensure that all present laws are adhered to? Has the Town of Cohocton taken precautions to ensure its laws, any violations, and stiff fines are established?

6. Most importantly to us, on a personal note, we have a two-year-old child and a five and a half year old child. The five and a half year old has a medical history, which includes cardiac and neurological problems, including seizures. Critics claim that wind towers may cause neurological problems or aggravate seizures. What are the specific medical risks for our children from the wind towers? What case studies can our child’s specialists, both cardiac and neurological, reference to be certain that our son is not at any greater risk, living in such close proximity to the wind towers? What would the Town of Cohocton do in such a special case as this to ensure their safety? What guarantees will the Town of Cohocton and UPC put into writing concerning our children, particularly our son with his medical history?

We appreciate the Board of the Town of Cohocton reviewing our concerns and questions. We hope you recognize the serious implications for our family as our home stands to be virtually surrounded by windmills. This was not the case when we built our home just over 3 years ago. When building our home, the surrounding farmers never presented this topic to us, though they presented their other concerns to us. When submitting building permits and tax information, The Town of Cohocton also never presented this topic to us.

Again, we thank you in advance for responding to our questions and concerns. We look forward to your response.


Shannon and Jill Levee

Friday, May 26, 2006

Town of Cohocton Planning Board - DEIS Public Hearing

Re: Property Valuations
Cohocton Windmill Power Project

Dear Board Members:

The purpose of my comments tonight is to request that you consider the consequences of your actions with regards to the reduction of property values for those properties that are directly impacted by the construction of 400' windmills.

My name is Allen Fitzpatrick and I am a NYS Certified General Appraiser at Metro Appraisal Associates in Rochester. I have had experience in cases where nearby external influences have created locational obsolescence that reduced the value of surrounding properties. Our clients are primarily residential property owners who have had assessment reductions due to outside influences. We have had extensive experience with Cel Towers, power lines etc. - where the company provides revenue to the community and the assessments and lawsuits take it away.

When companies come to communities, they typically demonstrate that there is no loss in assessed value by preparing studies that either:

1. Compare total assessment from one period of time (before the announcement or construction of the non residential tower) to after the announcement or construction of the non-residential use. By blending the good with the bad, the company typically demonstrates no loss to the community.

2. Another tactic used by companies is to show that the appreciation rate for the properties near the towers (windmills) is the same as the appreciation rate elsewhere where there is not an influence from such a non-residential use.

Both of these studies are flawed. They do not demonstrate the loss in property values using a Paired Sales Analysis. This analysis incorporates sales of properties that have the influence of a windmill farm and compares them to sales of similar properties that do not have the influence. All items are adjusted for differences with the exception of location. That analysis produces a percentage loss calculation that is then used for court cases for assessment reduction or inverse condemnation cases.

To protect the interests of your community, please obtain a more detailed study from a qualified consultant that will demonstrate the loss in value based on the distance from the windmill influence. The greater distance from the windmill farm, the less decline in value. This analysis then assists the municipality with the decision of what is the correct set back requirement from residential dwellings in order to eliminate future assessment reductions and litigation.

The reason why buyers purchase in Cohocton is not because they like the $3.00 per gallon gas expense - it is the tranquility of living in a rural community. Every one on the board and citizens in the audience tonight is aware of the noise, flickering light, visual problems, etc. Please understand what the impact will be to your community if the location of these wind farms is not located correctly in relation to residential uses.

There is case law that demonstrates that the perception of a problem is enough for a court to decide in favor of a homeowner. Anything that provides reluctance among buyers to purchase and thus reduce the competitive nature of the real estate market will result in a loss of value. At Metro, we have been retained by various property owners in Cohocton and have had several law firms in Rochester contact us with regards to potential loss. The discussions revolve around two issues:

1 Property Assessment Reductions
2 Inverse Condemnation and the requirement for the Municipality to purchase or pay for a private residence when it reduces its value substantially based on a non-compatible use. For unique structures, replacement cost is considered to be an appropriate method of valuation, since purchasing a similar property may be impossible due to the unique features of the one that was damaged.

The majority of the residents in a community have real estate as their largest asset and investment. When you have reduced their wealth, you will be in court for many years. The windmill company will have constructed the windmills and be long gone - you will still be in court.


1. Have a qualified consultant prepare the paired sales analysis described above to determine the impact of distance from the windmills on property values. This will aid you in determining the property set back. Metro Appraisal Associates cannot assist with this study, since we have been retained by others to review this loss of value study for future court cases.

2. Consider the total income that will be provided to the Town of Cohocton in relation to reduced assessments and court costs.

3. Make sure that your agreement with the Windmill Company is one that provides the town with a base fee plus a percentage increase as rates in the future rise and the company makes more money.

4. In the site plan process for each windmill - have the company complete a study that demonstrates the visual impact from surrounding homes.

5. Understand that the subdivision of land and the potential of new residential development or growth of additional assessment within the town will be put on hold while the windmill farms are located in the town. We have two staff members at Metro devoted to gathering data regarding sales and talking to Realtors. The local Realtors all indicate a reduction in sales and a reduction in interest to purchase in Cohocton. This should not change once the windmills are constructed.

6. Make sure that there is a requirement in your zoning code or permit for construction that has a time limit for the dismantling of the windmills at the end of the contract period. A reserve fund or some other guarantee should be made with the understanding that the company you are doing business with today will have had numerous mergers and not be the company in possession of the towers at the end of the contract period.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide the town with citizen involvement with regards to issues that they should consider when preparing the Final EIS. I am providing your board with a copy of my comments and the citizens of your community expect that you protect their interests.

Respectfully Submitted,

Allen Fitzpatrick
NYS Certified General Real Estate Appraiser

DEIS Response by Robert Strasburg II


· UPC has presented one sided conclusions by people and agencies in line to benefit from the installation of wind turbines

· Only 5% of the revenue that UPC receives from the sale of the electricity generated from these turbines is divided amongst the Town, School and County in the form of P.I.L.O.T. funds

· 95% of revenue remains in the direct control of a foreign fostered corporation (UPC is trying to conceal source of their funding). UPC is a privately held corporation that appears to me to only want to exploit our resources for their one sided gain.

· History proves that once these turbines are up and the deceptive seduction by a wind company is over, the friendly wind company can quickly turn into an opponent of both the Town and the residents.

There are three ways to slow this rapid progression to possible regret:

1. The Town Planning Board should declare a short 12 month moratorium on the introduction of wind turbines into our Town giving time enough to assemble a balanced panel of qualified community residents to fairly research all the conflicting data and report back to the Planning Board with its findings.

2. Leaseholder should seek immediate legal council. Agreements may be invalid and not binding. A community legal fund could assist leaseholders, who want out, with any future actions.

3. Litigation

Option 1 and 2 soon will not be an option if the Town Planning Board and or the leaseholders do not act immediately. This will leave only option 3 … Litigation. What a sad story it will be if Cohocton government continues to resist its residents and will not come together in such a way as to sit down and work this issue through to its best conclusion for all concerned.

If you don’t have time to make the right decisions now, you will have plenty of time later to wish you did. Wisdom in this situation screams for a moratorium.

Comptroller's Reports Prove IDAs Must be Abolished by James Ostrowski

Abolishing Industrial Development Agencies was part of the initial Free Buffalo package of proposals in 2004-5.1

Subsequently, we issued News Alert No. 6—“Public Authorities Have Failed the Public.” That report stated:

It is time to recognize that the authority system of public administration in New York has failed. . . . The authority system failed because authorities are not subject to the discipline of the marketplace or the ballot box. When things go wrong, those in charge are neither voted out of office nor do they lose their investment.. . . authorities, like all government agencies, are bureaucracies, that is, organizations governed by rules and not by the desire to earn profits by satisfying customers. Authorities share with other government agencies all the defects of bureaucratic management but have one major additional defect: you can’t vote the managers out of office.

Thursday, May 25, 2006



1. Convene Planning Board Meeting
-Resolution appointing Daniel A. Ruzow, Esq. Hearing Officer for Public Hearing on DEIS for Cohocton Wind Power Project

2. Commence Public Hearing
- Introduction and explanation of the SEQRA Process
- Brief presentation by Canandaigua Power Partners,LLC on Project
and DEIS
- Receipt of Comments from Public Officials
- Receipt of Comments from the Public

3. Close of Public Hearing by Planning Board

NOTE: Written public comment on the DEIS are welcomed by the Cohocton Planning Board, the SEQRA Lead Agency through the end of the Public Comment period, June 9, 2006. Written comments should be filed with Contact: Sandra Riley, Town of Cohocton, 15 South Main Street, Cohocton, NY 14826, phone: (585) 384-5330 ext. 1.

Cohocton Planning Public Hearing on DEIS

Today is the day to send a loud and clear message to the Cohocton Planning Board that the current UPC wind propsal it totally unacceptable.

Watch for yourself another chapter of the Cohocton local rule charade.
Ask why attorney Daniel A. Ruzow will be running this “so called” public hearing?
Why isn’t Planning Board chairman Sandor Fox conducting this public hearing?
Why is the time for public comments so severely limited by design?
Why is a UPC public relations presentation part of a public hearing?
Why is this DEIS hearing going on when the Cohocton Windmill Local Law is being challenged in NYS Supreme Court?

Ask yourself why Town of Cohocton officials are so inflexible and hell bent on accepting the UPC proposal as it is presented?
Why was UPC effectively allowed to write the Windmill Local Law?
Why are impact consultants supposedly working for the Town being paid by UPC?

Since the Town Board has voted to amend their Windmill Local Law, does that mean that residences can reasonably anticipate true meaningful set back standards that will ensure the public safety and property rights of all landholders? It is your responsibility and task to see that the Cohocton Planning Board and Town Board adopt a BETTER law. Before a legitimate DEIS public hearing can take place, final set backs and site locations must be known.

Voice your concerns and opposition to the UPC project. DEMAND that your town be protected from a project that will not truly benefit our township and place the burden of perpetual litigation on the backs of all taxpayers.

Cohocton can do better. Start the entire windmill process over.

An incredible statement - should sum up our position as citizens of Cohocton!

"While wind energy is renewable our finest landscapes are not. Once a power station is built the open countryside for miles around is irredeemably flawed"
Lord Geraint Howells of Ponterwyd (former MP, Ceredigion)

DISSERTATION by Berg, Godefridus Petrus van den

The sound of high winds: the effect of atmospheric stability on wind turbine sound and microphone noise

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Article 78" action against Cohocton Windwill Local Law - Update

July 14, 2006 9:30 AM has been set for the Supreme Court hearing of the "Article 78" action against the Town of Cohocton - Windmill Local Law.

Canandaigua , New York will be the location for this court date.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


MYTH 1: The wind turbines aren't really THAT big.
Fact: They will be over 400’ high, about as tall as Xerox Tower in Rochester. Their blade length is 139’, total rotor diameter is 285’. The turbines are much larger than the turbines many have seen in Fenner, NY.

MYTH 2: These industrial machines don't make THAT MUCH noise.
Fact: Like the generator in your garage, they ARE very quiet - when they aren't working. But at their loudest, they generate well over 50db of noise, equivalent to a tractor or a loud car stereo. The noise can be clearly heard (and felt) for 1000' and beyond, and much farther based on local conditions. And except on a still day, IT DOESN'T STOP.

MYTH 3: These industrial towers will be safe to be around.
Fact: The rotating blades have tip speeds up to 180 mph, with the potential to throw ice at high velocity up to 1800'. This puts snowmobilers, cross country skiers, and others at great risk. Wildlife will also be endangered.

MYTH 4: Besides ice throw, there are no other potential health concerns from close proximity to these wind towers.
Fact: At sunrise and sunset, shadow flicker can turn the 230' spinning rotors into giant strobe generators, which can cause seizures in susceptible individuals. Also, research indicates that the persistent extreme low frequency noise wind towers generate can cause neurological problems. Some individuals even become physically ill in proximity to the turbines. According to European health studies, the turbines need to be sited from 1.5 to 2 miles or more away from any dwelling. "Wind Farms Make People Sick Up to a Mile Away", Sunday Telegraph, January 25,2004.

MYTH 5: Wind power will help free us from foreign oil for generating power.
Fact: Only 3% of our electricity is generated by oil-fired plants The US Dept. of Energy projects that by 2025 wind power will represent only 1% of all US electrical generation.

MYTH 6: Wind power adds to our supply of dependable electricity.
Fact: Because wind power output is highly variable (it only works when the wind is blowing), it must be backed up by fossil fuel electric generating facilities in order to ensure dependable power delivery. Wind power does NOT free us from dependence on conventional electric power generation.

MYTH 7: One thing Cohocton has is wind – Our turbines will greatly add to the nation’s power reserves.
Fact: Unlike wind farms in the desert west where wind blows hard during the day and during the summer (When energy consumption is at its peak), wind power in upstate New York blows hardest during the winter and at night. For just 5% of the US energy needs to be met by wind, it would take 132,000 turbines operating at least 27% capacity. Our turbines are expected to normally operate at 10 to 15% capacity.

MYTH 8: These industrial wind projects will generate A LOT OF JOBS.
Fact: UPC has acknowledged that at most four permanent jobs will be created. These will be minimum wage, low-skill jobs.

MYTH 9: The taxes or payments these wind companies pay will all be "extra" money.
Fact: ln similar locales, non-leasing adjacent landowners have experienced a significant drop in property values, in some cases 20-40% The potential flight of landowners and reductions in the value of recreational, vacation home and retirement property could have a severe negative impact on tax revenues. And now there are concerns that the State would also reduce payments to towns and schools, claiming we'll r longer need the money. Local Realtors have already lost a sale on Pine Hill due to the proposed project.

MYTH 10: Wind Turbines are safe for the environment and by supporting this project I’m doing my bit to go “Green.”

Fact: Inappropriately sited and constructed towers can negatively affect the water table; can cause sedimentation of ponds and streams; cause soil erosion and create wildlife hazards. At the Tug Hill wind farm site landowners have reported a 50% decrease in deer populations, and an almost 100% decrease in wild turkey, as well as several large fish kills during the construction phase.

MYTH 11: What’s the Big Deal? There won’t be that many towers in town and they won’t be that visible. The trees will hide them.
Fact: At present there are plans for 41 towers with another possible 60 or more to be built. According to the Draft Environmental Statement (DEIS) prepared for the town, the turbines would be clearly visible from Wayland, Avoca, Freemont, Howard, Wheeler, Prattsburgh, Italy and Naples. They will even be seen from Canandaigua Lake. How many 400’ tall trees have you seen in Cohocton?

MYTH 12: With no fuel costs, wind farms make good financial sense.
Fact: Absolutely not. Factoring in all the costs, wind power is nearly TWICE as expensive as fossil fuel electric power generation. Wind power is made financially viable - and, short term, highly profitable for wind farm developers - through multiple tax incentives, Empire Zone deals, power production credits, power purchase guarantees, and NY-SERDA cash transfers, and this financial burden is transferred to us, the taxpayers. And the electrical utility can pass on higher prices to us, the ratepayers. The green from this "green" power goes to the developers, who often sell off the projects within two years to large corporations for their value as tax shelters, like the Fenner project they've showcased.

MYTH 13: Our town has developed a “Windmill Law” to protect property owners.
Fact: That law has been found to be illegal as the town neglected to execute a “State Environmental Quality Review” (SEQR) as required by New York State Law. Further, according to town documents, that law was written with the help and input of UPC. The law would have allowed turbines as close as 1500’ to a dwelling, and 500’ from property lines.

MYTH 14: This is just “SOUR GRAPES.” Those opposed to the project our jealous because they aren’t making any money.
Fact: Cohocton Wind Watch is opposed to the ways in which the Town of Cohocton has (mis) handled this project. We further believe that the town has not done adequate research on ALL aspects of this project, and that they have not properly considered how this project would impact ALL Cohocton landowners. If this project is important for Cohocton, why not take the time to make sure it is done right? As far as CWW is concerned, lease-holders are entitled to make money from their property. Our argument is not with them.

MYTH 15: This project will bring the town substantial revenue.
Fact: The project is expected to generate between $200,000 and $250,000 annually. If property values decrease and the State reduces payments to the town and school, how much of a real gain will there be?

MYTH 16: Residents of the town will receive free electricity or reduced electrical bills.
Fact: No. There will be no reduction in electrical costs for anyone in Cohocton. No one will receive free electricity.


· Read the DEIS (see below).
· Write to the Cohocton Planning Board with comments, concerns and questions by June 9. 2006. Send letters in care of the Town Clerk, 15 South Main St., Cohocton, NY 14826.
· Attend Town Board and Planning Board meetings. Help insure that the new “Windmill Law” will be fair to all property owners.
· Write Letters to the Editor. Go to CWW‘s website for addresses.
· Talk with your neighbors. Make sure they understand what is really going on.
· Contact CWW at; or at 585-534-5581.
· To view the DEIS go to, or, go the Memorial Town Hall, the Cohocton Public Library, E.J. Cottrell Memorial Library, or UPC’s office at 28 Maple Ave., Cohocton

OUR WIND FARM STORY - Pam Foringer, Fenner, NY

It was almost 23 years ago when we built the home we hope to retire in. While we were looking for land to build on, we searched high and low for a piece of property we could afford. Our funds were limited and so were the parcels of land in our price range. We looked at the 3-acre parcel that seemed so desolate a number of times. We drove by in the early spring and tried to picture what it would be like atop this barren hillside in the cold, snowy months of a "Fenner winter". The one thing that we did know was that in the summer months there was a magnificent view to the west and the sunsets were incredible. We wanted the peace and quiet of the country and this seemed like our best bet. So in April 1981 we started to clear the property and construction began on our new home. During the construction many of the contractors joked about how windy it was up here and told us we ought to put up a windmill. My husband even did a little research on small-scale windmills, but never seriously considered erecting one as the cost was high and it would take years to break even.

During the first couple of years we planted over 1500 pines in the 2 acres behind our house. We hoped to be able to cut our own Christmas tree in a few years and eventually we'd have our own little animal sanctuary where deer could have shelter and the birds my husband loves to watch would flourish. And indeed we did cut our 1st Christmas tree about 7 years later. We only cut trees for about 3 more years before they were beginning to tower over us and it was time to let nature take its course. Over the years the Mother Nature has had a hand in changing the landscape. Trees have grown and trees have fallen due to several storms that involved high winds or the phenomenal icing, that though beautiful to look at, has done major damage. We have quite a lovely little forest out back now. The pines have grown to somewhere between 20 and 30 feet but they are dwarfed by the giant towers that now dominate the landscape no matter what direction we look. Never in a million years did we expect to be surrounded by these towers that passersby find so mesmerizing in their short 10 or IS minute visits.

Let me tell you how this all began. It must have been about 5 years ago when we noticed the construction of a test tower directly to our south in the farm field next to our house. Soon rumors of the "Wind farm" began to swirl. Eventually town meeting started to take place and more information was forthcoming. We were never given a chance to vote on whether this project would actually become a reality. Most of our neighbors and I use the word loosely as we live on a road that has only 8 houses, I should probably say, the other residents of the town of Fenner seemed rather excited. They felt this was the best thing to happen to our township in years. My husband and I were concerned about the alteration of the landscape and what affect this project would have on us personally. There were a few other families that like us would be surrounded by towers and they were also concerned.

The developer met with a group of 5 families a number of times to explain the plans and to reassure us that there would be very little change to the landscape. We were told they would only remove trees where absolutely necessary and all the cables and wiring would be underground. He reiterated that noise would not be a problem. The placement of the towers was explained to us and he even sent us computer renderings of what they would look like from our homes. We worried about our property values and how this would affect our appraisals. My husband and I never really considered selling our home because of the project; we have too much time invested to just pull up stakes and leave. But in this day and age you never know what circumstances can force you to relocate so we wanted to protect our investment. We were told the developer would extend a contract to us that would protect our property values for a period of 3 years from the time the project became operational. Basically if we decided to sell, and were forced to sell at a lower price due to the impact of the wind farm, the developer would pay us the difference. We received paperwork and sent it off to our lawyer to verify that it was an appropriate means of protecting our property values. He explained that it looked fine, there was certainly no harm in signing it but it really did nothing for us UNLESS we decided to sell and unless we indeed sold at a lower price. Although my husband and I were not planning to sell we signed the contract and waited for the developer to stop by and pick the copies up, as he said he would. Days passed and it seemed like he had dropped off the face of the earth, we were told he was off to work on a new project. I emailed him to let him know the copies were ready. We later found out that the developer had sold the entire project to another company. We still have the signed papers in an envelope but the time period has since passed. We have not pursued the subject any further. I don't know if any of the other families have benefited from their contracts or not. One family has sold and moved away, I do not know the circumstances of their sale. We have had no contact with the other families; I have been told that one of the other families is in arbitration.

As the project began we knew we had been "punked", as the young people say these days. The number of workers and amount of construction equipment was staggering. We saw many hedgerows disappear as they cleared the way for access roads. That summer the dust covered every surface in my home, the only way to avoid it was to keep the windows closed. We have no air conditioning; we've always relied on the breeze to cool our house on hot summer days. How ironic, to find relief from the sweltering heat, we would have to use a air conditioner that uses much more power, just the thing that facilitated all these changes to our peaceful country existence.

The crane used to lift the turbine as it is placed on the tower is something to see, and of course people flocked to the site to watch the progress. Every time the crane had to be moved it was a major undertaking, as it didn't even fit on the roads. The huge tracks it made as it moved slowly across the farm fields like a giant snail could be seen through out that summer. Caravans of trucks came loaded with 100 ft rotor blades. It was a very hectic time as these workers went about their daily duties and the towers inched their way toward the sky. In the autumn of 2001 the project went online and most of the workers moved on to their next job.

Not a day went by that I wasn't asked by a friend or coworker what it was like now that the wind farm was up and running. So I'm sure you're wondering how things have been since the project was completed. Well, as I sit in my kitchen and type this on my computer I hear the constant hum of the blades, its early November, a brisk day and of course the windows are closed so that muffles the sound a little. In the summer, with the windows open there is nothing to block out the humming or the grinding sound that the turbine makes when it is being turned. For those that haven't seen a wind tower up close, they are about the height of a 30-story building and the unit on top is the size of a small travel trailer. Because the wind constantly changes direction the blades have to be turned to catch the wind. Now you know, there isn't a little man with a crank that lives in the bottom of each tower who turns the blade at the appropriate time. It is all monitored by computer and done mechanically, imagine turning a 24-ton object perched on top of a 200 ft tower. That takes a bit of force and at times the sounds that are emitted are rather eerie. Depending on the weather it can sound like a grinding noise or at times the shrieking sound of a wild animal. In the winter the noise always seems much louder, perhaps because of the starkness of the season and lack of foliage to muffle the noise. Anyway, when people tell you that the wind towers are virtually noiseless, they haven't lived a couple of football fields away from one 24/7. It has been 3 years now, I must say I will never get use to the view that greets me every time I drive home from work or the grocery store or any journey that takes me out of the Town of Fenner. On sunny days the towers are a bright white, a huge contrast to the beautiful blue sky. When it is gray and rainy they take on a gray color that almost, I repeat, ALMOST makes them disappear into the gloom of the day. In the heavy fog that frequently blankets our road they are virtually invisible, not even the red blinking lights can be seen. But regardless of whether you see them or not, you still hear them, even when they are not operating. When the brakes stop the rotors because it's too windy, you hear a clunking and a grinding that sounds like a freight train's cars bumping together. And when it's time to start them again you can at times liken it to the roar of a jet engine.

We have some absolutely gorgeous sunrises and sunsets in Fenner. As the sun slowly rises to the east of our house it usually bathes our bedroom wall with it's rays, unfortunately, we now get a strobe effect that can drive you absolutely crazy. It's commonly called the "flicker factor". As the sun shines through the rotors it creates a shadow pattern that you would liken to a strobe light. Because of the close proximity of 4 of the towers to our house we get this light show at various times of the day as the sun travels from east to west. Most of the time I have to close our shades to prevent this from giving me a migraine. And speaking of light shows, if this one during the day isn't enough, we get the nighttime show as well. Each tower has red blinking lights on top of the turbine so unless the shades are closed in the bedroom at night there is a constant red light blinking in perfect view as we lie in bed. We have always enjoyed watching the night sky but now as we drive toward our road what you notice immediately is a huge cluster of blinking red lights.

In the past we would see thousands of Canadian geese as they made their way to the local swampland for a well-needed rest during their long journey north. The snow geese whose migration pattern brought them directly over us have since found a more convenient route; at least I haven't seen them since. Proponents of the wind farm would say it's not so but after 20+ years I think we can vouch for the fact. Our surrounding cornfields used to be full of geese this time of year, not anymore. It didn't happen overnight but slowly the numbers have dwindled, is that just a coincidence?

That brings me to the next point of contention, traffic. We moved to the country because we liked the seclusion and not having to worry about constant traffic. If you check with our town supervisor he would tell you that the traffic has increased 10 to 20 times from what it used to be. Madison County and the Town of Fenner encourage people to visit the wind farm. Imagine my surprise when a coworker that had been to our county seat in Wampsville, NY brought me a brochure for the Fenner Wind Power Facility and there on the front was my house. My husband and I had no idea that the brochure had our house prominently displayed on it, we were neither asked or notified it would be part of the promoting of the wind farm. Of course we could not stop that anymore than we could stop the traffic. The thing that amazes me is the stupidity of some of the drivers. I can't tell you how many times I have crested a knoll on our road to find a STOPPED vehicle just on the other side, sometimes the people remain inside the car but many times they are standing in the road and seem to be oblivious to the fact that this is not only dangerous to themselves but also to people just trying to get to their homes. I've even encountered a tripod set up in the middle of the road while some amateur photographer snaps pictures. One of the biggest shocks I got was the first time I came home to find a tour bus parked across from our house and the entire busload of senior citizens leaving the bus to go look at a rotor that is stored on some town property located across the road from our house. Since then I have seen more than one tour bus and numerous school buses. The increased traffic has not been good for our country roads that are already in need of repair. The town is supposedly receiving some form of compensation from Canastota Windpower, the owner of the project but I have yet to see it go into the upkeep of our roads at least not the one I live on. We've read in the newspapers how good this is for our local economy, I would like to know who locally is benefiting other than the select few who have towers on their property and the individuals who have a weekly ad in our local paper advertising the sale of Wind Farm T-shirts, key chains and bumper stickers.

Some people look at them as modern art; I personally prefer to see my modern art in a gallery. Everyone is shocked to find out we don't get our power for free. It seemed like the right thing to do considering the disruption the project had caused. I understand that those who want to purchase "Green Power" pay a premium price for it. You may have noticed that your electric company has given you a choice of purchasing units of green power. We are already paying outrageous prices for gas now if we want the option of wind power we must pay more for that too. Someone is benefiting from this project, but many of us are paying in ways that have no monetary price. My family and I will continue to live on the property we call "home", we'll watch our trees grow knowing they'll never be tall enough to block the view of the tower that looms just the other side of them. I wonder what these towers will look like in 20 years, lets hope they are not rusting giants!



Dear Friends,

My husband and I own a home in the township of Fenner, NY and it is located in the middle of the Madison wind farm. I am not and never have been against windpower but I want people to be well aware of the negative side of these giant windmills before you allow them to be built in your neighborhoods. We have always believed that our neighbors had the right to use their property as they feel appropriate, in fact we were even somewhat supportive of the project in our area. Our home also sits well away from the setback distances called for by zoning.

Unfortunately we were not given all of the facts or we were given somewhat twisted information. We were told that the windmills had been redesigned so as not to be noisy but the grinding noise goes on 24 hours a day (when they are operating) and at times is far worse than other times. From our bedroom window we can see no less than 5 towers and from the living room another 2. On a stormy night the wind howls through our bedroom like a freight train - yes, I know the blades stop when the wind reaches a certain velocity but never the less they don't magically disappear and the wind continues to hit them greatly increasing the sound that travels over them. In the middle of the summer we cannot enjoy our yard or have the windows open because these machines constantly grind and have a negative effect on ones nerves. When at the house I find that my nerves are constantly on edge.

We also have lost our television reception and were forced to purchase a satellite dish. Prior to the towers we always had very good reception of the local stations and generally had 2 to 3 more and now it is impossible to get any of those stations. Incidentally there is no cable in our area. The builders/management have more than once promised us to look into this situation and have done nothing and also do not answer phone calls or follow up on appointments which they make with us.
Out of necessity to aviation there are lights on top of the towers which now flash directly into our bedroom and living room windows all through the night necessitating the closing of the blinds and robbing us of the view of our own backyard and God's gift of nature one of the main reasons we moved to the country in the first place.

Should your area decide to go ahead with the project I would suggest that cell phone towers be built into the towers. This was not done in our area and there is terrible cell phone coverage. To increase the coverage more towers now need to be built and I don't see that happening any time soon.

I have also found that the discussion to have or not have towers in a neighborhood has pitted neighbor against neighbor in some cases and long friendships have struggled, I find this to be very sad and a huge detriment.

The windfarm in our home area has also brought much traffic to the area that we never had to deal with in the past. Drivers stop and gawk in the middle of the road becoming a hazard to those who simply want to get to work or possibly to a store or Doctors appointment, etc.

Promises have been made and broken over and over again and I find that also to be an extremely sad situation.

I pray that you can find a way to work through many of the issues without having such a huge impact on those living near by.

Pastor Kathleen Danley
Gaines Carlton Community Church
Albion, NY 14411

Friday, May 19, 2006


1. There are approximately 1500 landowners in the Town and Village of Cohocton. 15 of these landowners, or approximately 1%, are slated to receive wind turbines on their property. This issue is NOT about the other 99% of landowners coveting the money that these 15 landowners might receive from the installation of these wind turbines. What the 1% might receive from the lease of their property is of no business of ours.

2. What is our business, is to see if the Town Board is doing their very best to protect the interest off all taxpayers. This issue IS about what all 100% of the taxpayers might lose out of their own pocket, their Town’s natural beauty and the natural balance of nature from the placement of these turbines.

3. We as a group have sought answers to our questions from the Town Planning Board to some concerns we have about the management of this Wind Turbine project.

4. If, when we went to the Town Board to inquire about this issue, they could have shown us with transparency what decisions they have made and why and convinced us that they were looking out for our best interest as taxpayers, we would have gone home and left this issue alone.

5. We did not find this to be the case.

6. We wonder why we have had such resistance from the Board when we try to get answers to our questions.

7. This is arguably the largest financial decision any Town Board has had to make since the inception of our Town.

8. So far, the Town Board expects us to accept reports that are paid for by the wind turbine company (UPC) to answer our questions relative to the economic, environmental and safety issues we are concerned about.

9. We are looking for reports based on solid fact, not biased sales pitches.

10. The Town Board has turned over a large part of this projects management to the Steuben County Industrial Development Association (IDA).

11. We are concerned about the future performance of the IDA based on the passed failures of ventures they have managed in the past.

12. We have obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act that clearly show that UPC had an active role in forming the terms of the new Zoning Law.

13. This changed zoning law that has been promoted as a protection for us, in my opinion was an effort to remove our previous zoning law that would have restricted this turbine program, and replace it with its current form that allows these wind turbines in our Town.

14. The new Zoning Law now allows towers at a height of 500 feet and noise levels that are totally unacceptable for a rural community.

15. The entire subject of a wind farm coming into a community such as ours is riddled with conflicting information. One only has to go onto the internet and research this subject and you will find thousands of pages of information supporting these programs and as many to strongly oppose them.

16. There are reports offered by those that are in favor of wind turbines that go on and on with song after song of how wonderful they are and on the opposite side of the spectrum there are those that are opposed that sing a totally different song.

17. One must look deeply into this subject to peel back the layers of confusion surrounding this issue.

18. There are always at least two sides to each story.

19. One needs to ask the question, “How will this affect me?”

20. One area that is of great interest to me is the economic impact that we as home and land owners will experience from the introduction of these 400 foot turbines.

21. I specifically asked two Town Board members why they were committed to these wind turbines. One told me, “I am committed to these wind turbines being on these hills by the end of next fall”.

22. I asked why and he said “for the revenue”. The other member confirmed this to be his reason also. I asked well... “How much revenue?” They both said, “We don’t know”.

23. Now, I know that a good businessman does not make a commitment to any supposed money making project until he understands the numbers, yet both these Board Members were committed to these wind turbines being on these hills by the end of the Fall of 2007 without being able to and/or willing to explain to me the money.

24. Later, UPC announced the first proposed income number for Cohocton to be in the “range” of $660,000 by letter to the taxpayers in April 11th. UPC declared in their letter that they were using a number they got from the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency.

I went to this agency to confirm the number and was told the following:

25. The $660,000 in P.I.L.O.T. (payment in lieu of taxes) funds that Cohocton Town, Steuben County and the School may receive from this PILOT is a reduced amount that UPC would pay rather than the amount that would normally be due from the landowner if these towers were taxed as an asset to the property they sit on.

26. I am told that every dollar that the school receives from this PILOT program reduces the State Aid by the same amount so this will not reduce our school taxes.

Here are the separate factors that combine to produce the formula used by UPC/IDA in their projection:

27. A 2MW turbine has a potential output of 2 Megawatts per hour

28. UPC/IDA assumes an actual output of 30% capacity because the wind does not blow all the time.

29. A Megawatt is 1000 kilowatts

30. UPC/IDA used .04 to represent what a kilowatt of wind generated electricity can be sold for on the electrical grid

Let’s look and see if UPC is giving us a fair shake:

31. A 2MW wind turbine reduced to assumed actual production of 30% = 600 kilowatts average output per hour x .04 per kilowatt = $24 per hour x 24 hours in a day = $576 a day x 365 days per year = $210,240 per year, per wind turbine.

32. $210,240 per year, per wind turbine x 60 of these 400 foot tall wind turbines in Phase 1 & Phase 2 of the Cohocton wind turbine project = $12,614,400 in gross revenue for UPC per year.

33. If the life of this current program is 20 years, UPC is in line for $252,288,000 of revenue from the sale of electricity at today’s prices.

34. The proposed $660,000 in total PILOT payments by UPC to Cohocton Town, Steuben County and the School ÷ $12,614,400 = only 5% of gross revenue expensed by UPC in PILOT funds.

35. 95% of the revenue remains in the hands of a foreign based privately held Corporation that does not sell its stock on the American Stock Exchange and they will not be transparent as to who their investors are, nor where the money is going.

36. Just for example sake, let’s assume we will be lucky enough to get 1/3 of the PILOT money. This would be 1.7% of UPC’s gross revenue. (1/3 of 5% = 1.7%)

37. 220,000 ÷ 1500 taxpayers = only 147.00 per taxpayer per year.

What does it all mean?

38. If UPC put 220,000 in our General Fund every year as a supposed gain to us, what will we be losing that could offset the gain of this possible 220,000?

39. I would like to propose a formula as an example.

40. According to the Cohocton Assessors Office, the current market value of all Real Property in the Town of Cohocton is $107,194,020

41. This number is admittedly low and the Town is in the process of a revaluation to correct the problem, but for our purposes, let’s take this low number.

42. What loss could we experience? In Appendix F, on page 20 of the Environmental Impact Statement provided to the Town by UPC, they point to their own “in-house” study of the visual impact on our viewscape from the placement of these turbines.

43. Below is an excerpt from the UPC/Environmental Impact Study available to you on line at

Visual Impact Assessment Rating
An in-house panel of three registered landscape architects (LA) evaluated the visual impact of the proposed project, as described in the Methodology section of this report. Utilizing 11 x 17-inch digital color prints of the selected representative viewpoints described above, the rating panel members evaluated the before and after views, assigning each view quantitative visual contrast ratings on a scale of 1 (completely compatible) to 5 (strong contrast). Each panel member’s ratings were averaged to get an overall score for each viewpoint, and these scores were then compiled as a composite average for each viewpoint. Copies of the completed rating forms are included in Appendix D, and the results of this process are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Visual Contrast Rating

Viewpoint # LA 1 LA 2 LA 3 Composite
VP 11 1.00 2.25 1.00 1.42
VP 57 1.50 2.75 2.75 2.33
VP 68 1.50 2.00 1.75 1.75
VP 74 1.13 1.63 1.00 1.25
VP 94 2.13 2.00 1.25 1.79
VP 110 3.25 3.00 3.75 3.3
VP 130 2.88 2.25 2.75 2.63
VP 154 1.00 3.75 1.00 1.92
VP 160 1.75 2.25 1.50 1.83
VP 178 1.63 2.63 1.50 1.92
Average 1.78 2.45 1.83 2.02

Based on a scale of 1 (completely compatible) to 5 (strong visual contrast).

44. UPC declares that on an impact scale of 1-5 (1 being completely compatible and 5 being in strong contrasts) their own assessment of the impact is a 2.02!

45. Now 2 sounds like a low number, but a closer look shows that 2 is 40% of 5, the maximum.

46. From this, would one be wrong in assuming that we will experience a 40% change in the beauty that surrounds us?

47. If Cohocton has less “curbside appeal” what will that do to the market value of this 107 million plus in Real Property that we have?

48. As a local Real Estate Agent said, “I never had anyone call me asking to buy a house next to a wind turbine”.

49. There are credible reports available to us that show a documented change in property value after the turbines are up, with a loss of up to 80% depending on your proximity to these wind turbines.

50. We have received no report from the Town Planning Board showing where property value is guaranteed to go up.

51. Because the Town is not slowing down to measure this possible change, we have to take as close a look as possible in the time given and offer you some estimates to look at.

52. Using the data supplied by UPC, if they suggest a 40% change in appearance of our viewscape and we take a simple number of only a 5% loss to the real property value in the Town of Cohocton as a result of this 40% change, we can apply the following formula for an estimate.

53. 5% of 107,194,020 = 5,359,701 in property value loss to the landholders in the Town of Cohocton.

54. If UPC only puts back 220,000 a year into the general fund of the Town (and remember, this money does not go into your pocket directly to compensate you for your loss, but into the Town General Fund that currently has no provision for the controlled expenditure of this supposed money).

55. Based on this analysis, (5, 359,701 in Real property loss ÷ 220,000 income from UPC = 24.4 years) it will take 24.4 years just to pay back the $5,359,701.00 loss suffered and when it is paid back, it will not go into your pocket!

56. The current program for these wind turbines is scheduled to end in 20 years, leaving an unpaid deficit of almost $1,000.000.00 that UPC will owe us in lost Real Property Value according to this analysis.

57. A question that needs to be answered is; What if these turbines come and my land does not appreciate in value at the rate that it would if the turbines were not here, who is going to reimburse you for this loss?

58. Are you making money or losing money?

59. Is the Town of Cohocton taking your property value and selling it for a loss?

60. Are you getting paid back?

61. Does this amount to a loss to you?

What needs to be done?

62. Come to the Thursday May 25th Public Hearing here at the school at 7 PM sponsored by the Town and bring your written unanswered questions and objections in letter form and submit them to the Town Board at that time. Make sure you get a dated receipt when you turn your letter into the Town Board. This is a very important step if and when you may need to take legal action later to recover your losses from the installation of these wind towers.

Although we have done our very best at researching this issue in the time allowed, this analysis is only meant to promote constructive thinking for new and better ideas of creating financial benefit to the taxpayers and Town of Cohocton. Because we found out about this issue so late and the Town Board is closing the door so quickly on our opportunity to object to this project severely limiting our research time, I/we make no guarantee that all the facts contained herein are accurate. Each recipient of this information is cautioned to do their own research and come to their own conclusions about this issue.

CALL TO ACTION - Cohocton Citizens - the future is NOW

The Cohocton Wind Watch greatly thanks Cohocton residents and surrounding township neighbors for their presence and overwhelming support at the CWW May 17th information meeting. Over 200 citizens came out to express their concern about the Cohocton Wind Power Project. Media and press reporters are encouraged to cover every aspect of this dramatic lesson in civics. The current wind project threatens the well being of not only Cohocton but the entire Finger Lakes region. Property rights and constitutional protections are at stake. The Town of Cohocton and the Cohocton Planning Board are now fully aware of the depth and intensity of community opposition to the UPC wind turbine proposal. All officials have a duty to protect the public safety and property rights of all residents and landowners. Their oath of office is a solemn obligation.

It is the task of all area citizens to hold the Town of Cohocton accountable. Each official bears the responsible and personal liability for any and all damages coming out of a wind project that harms your community.

Call to action – attend the Cohocton Planning Board public hearing on May 25, 2006 and submit your written opposition and supporting documentation to the lead agency. GET a signed receipt from the clerk for each document submitted. Protect your rights and the legal record. Get active and contribute to the Cohocton Wind Watch legal fund.

The Cohocton Wind Watch looks forward to sponsoring additional public meeting. Future gathering will encourage questions, comments, citizen participation and interaction. Now is the time for the entire community to reject the UPC proposal and work together to enact a new comprehensive plan for the future of our town and region. CWW wants to hear from you and urge you to join our community group. Demand from your town officials a moratorium NOW! We all can do better, get involved and help secure the birthrights of your sons and daughters and grandchildren.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cohocton residents want more time to mull wind project by MICHELLE KING

COHOCTON - A group of Cohocton residents are concerned town officials are moving too quickly toward approving a proposed wind farm.

Cohocton Wind Watch, which consists of about 25 families and property owners, was formed about a month ago, according to member James Hall.

“We would like to see the town operate on a more beneficial level for the entire community,” he said. “To work together with a wind turbine project in a constructive way.”

The group has many questions, he said. His wife, Judith, who serves as the group's treasurer, gave one example, saying a test tower was erected on Friday without any permits. After questioning the code enforcement officer, and town clerk for proof of a permit, she said they did not have the legal documentation.

Another worry is many of the decisions seem to be made unilaterally by the planning board, the Hall's said, adding some might have other motives.

“It's all basically been done behind closed doors,” Judith Hall said. “Members of the planning board have said it's a done deal.”

At this point, the Halls are not convinced the construction of wind towers will provide significant economic relief, either.

“It boils down to gross revenues that will be 95 percent retained by the corporation,” James Hall said. “The revenue distributed to landholders would be around 5 percent.

“The negotiation as to the actual dollar amount is not even accomplished through negotiation, but by Steuben County Industrial Development Agency,” he added.

CWW hopes to address some of the concerns at an informational meeting 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wayland-Cohocton Elementary School, 30 Park Ave.

“We are hoping to present factual information we've uncovered in several weeks, and to present an alternative plan for the community to consider,” James Hall said.

More specifically, he hopes the meeting will lead to a moratorium.

The proposed wind farm will be constructed by UPC Wind Partner LLC, and calls for 41 2-megawatt turbines. Each will stand about 403-feet high. The project will encompass about 5,775 acres.

For more information about CWW visit it's Web site at

C-BED - Community Based Energy Development Alternatives

The fundamental purpose of allowing any Wind Power Project within the jurisdiction of the Town of Cohocton should and must achieve a genuine public benefit. The corporate model of 95% for the company and a mere 5% divided up among landholders and municipalities is an offensive formula. The alternative is to examine, consider and approve a business plan that is far superior to accepting the meager pay scheme that is the economic basis of the UPC proposal.

Several C-BED community based energy development projects are currently in operation that provide real and significant benefits to their respective local communities. A brief overview can be reviewed on the website:

Benefits of C-BED projects are substantial.

· The financial benefits of ownership stay within the community.
· Financing is typically done with local area banks.
· Compared to out-of-area owners, a higher portion of the construction and operational expenditures stays within the local community and regional area.
· C-BED projects create and support many jobs for union and local contractors, engineers, accountants, lawyers, bankers and main street businesses.
· As a result, significantly more dollars per KWh circulate in the local and regional communities compared to non-C-BED renewable power projects.

This successful business example can resemble a co-operative ownership. No doubt some communities may not want to be responsible for the direct development and operations of a community based project. That certainly can be a valid concern. So the alternative to community based ownership is a community owned private enterprise. Who would you want to own a project that effectively controls your land and risks your economic future? The answer should be clear, don’t trust a faceless corporation financed with foreign capital.

The solution and sensible choice is to encourage and deal with a local venture that would be owned, developed and managed among Western New York investors and residents. One such project is currently being organized in the township of Perry, NY. The Perry Area Wind Energy project offers landowners and residents an opportunity for local participation and meaningful protection from the excess of the Enron bankrupt corporate culture.

Cohocton is faced with dire consequences and adverse risks that are inherent in the flawed UPC business plan. This is the time to take a deep breath and undertake a serious look at other options that offer a far greater return and benefit to the entire community.

From the real world experience of C-BED projects the direct and indirect financial benefits to the local township, landowners and residents can reasonably be estimated at 20-50% of revenues. That is a 4-10 times larger amount then the 5% sum coming out of the UPC corporate proposal.

Common sense and sound business judgment indicates that Cohocton should not settle for crumbs. The income from wind generation is a “Cash Cow” for corporations. Why would our neighbors and friends settle for such a small distribution when a much better deal can be created?

The profit and cash flow from just five community based wind turbines would compensate landholders and the Town of Cohocton the same monetary value as the current 58 proposed units. The corporate plan wants to keep the cream and nearly all of the milk, while our community is left with the fallout of an ill-conceived and unfair revenue sharing scheme.

Let’s get serious! It is a time to be honest with ourselves and everyone else. If the stated goal for approving a wind project is to generate financial revenue for the community and to the municipality, why is the Town of Cohocton selling out our God given natural resources for a nickel on every dollar? We can all do better.

A levelheaded business proposal would provide for the protection of the entire township and all its people. Public safety issues, property value protections, liability safeguards and environmental preservation are all legitimate concerns that are not sufficiently addressed or provided for in the UPC impact DEIS report.

The rational approach is to demand that the lead agency, the Cohocton Planning Board, issue a moratorium while a new Wind Mill Local Law can be re-written. During this period of constructive re-evaluation, other competing business plans should be reviewed, based upon the standard of what best benefits the entire Cohocton community.

Consistent with this approach and based upon the dramatic increase in revenue sharing available from wind generation by a local developer the following proposal is being offered for your consideration.

1. An industrial location would be secured to accommodate a wind turbine project.
2. Serious protective setbacks from residents would be adopted.
3. Revenue sharing percentage would be significantly increased and a formula for dividing dividends from the locally owned project would include every landowner of record in the Town of Cohocton.

The advantage to each and every landholder and property owner is real significant and self-evident. Community opposition to the structural deficiencies in the current proposal could be resolved. Current lessor landholders could be fairly compensated within a sliding scale share from dividend payouts and avoid the ongoing risk of costly litigation and liability damages. The Town of Cohocton would enjoy stable property tax revenue based upon real property value protection as well as a more generous and equitable split from a community project developer.

Why support or approve a corporate wind proposal when you can earn a far greater return under a community based and owned project? Why not include every property owner into a beneficial payout method? Why not protect and preserve the township from the danger of eminent domain, foreign ownership and a fire sale split of revenues?

Cohocton can do better, much better!

James Hall - May 18, 2006

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Breaking News - Town of Cohocton Windmill Local Law

After an “Article 78” was filed against the Town of Cohocton Windmill Local Law and service upon the Cohocton Supervisor – Jack Zigenfus, the board acknowledged the serious nature of the action by passing a motion to re-write a new windmill local law.

Daniel A. Ruzow a Senior Partner of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna was introduced as representation for the Town of Cohocton in order to recommend correct procedures in writing a new addition to the zoning law. Mr. Ruzow’s Albany, NY firm has represented state agencies and authorities in the SEQRA process.

The Town Board of Cohocton’s action opens the door to a complete restart of the Cohocton Wind Power Project. The clear implication is that the current law has no legal standing and that any town board law would need to follow proper procedure for enactment of a new local law.

Citizens are urged to interact and involve themselves at every stage of this process.

It is imperative to voice your concerns and put them in writing to the Town and Planning Boards.

The question now is “WHERE is the entire wind project”? How can you have an EIS when you don’t know what the regulations governing the project are? Or are the Boards still ignoring the health, safety and financial well being of the citizenry?

MEDIA RELEASE: Article 78 filed in Canandaigua, NY against Town of Cohocton

The Town Board of Cohocton did not follow correct and prescribed procedure when the Windmill Local Law No 1 was passed in January 2006. An “Article 78” action was submitted to the Seventh Judicial Court District on May 16, 2006 to challenge the passage of this law. James Hall filed the suit against the Town Board of Cohocton. David Miller, attorney from Naples, NY, represents Mr. Hall in this suit.

Cohocton Supervisor – Jack Zigenfus was duly served notice of this Supreme Court action at the regular town board meeting by Cohocton Wind Watch President Steve Trude.

Mr. Zigenfus asked Cohocton Town Attorney, Pat McAllister, if he had to accept the notice. When the town supervisor was asked if he had any comments for the citizens in attendance or the press covering this meeting, he declined to make a statement.

The Town of Cohocton will need to defend their actions in court. Upon a successful ruling, the Town of Cohocton would need to start the process over for any passage of a new Windmill Local Law.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

James Hall and Steve Trude on the Jeff Rense Radio Program

Tonight from 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM May 16, listen to Cohocton Wind Watch members on the Jeff Rense national radio program.

Cohocton Wind Watch - domain name

You can now use as a url address to reach the Cohocton Wind Watch website.


Send Letters To The Editor, no later than June 5, 2006.

-Keep your comments short – under 250 words.
-Do not send the same letter to all papers.
-No form letters.
-Include your name, address and daytime telephone number.
-If you are interested in writing a “guest essay,” contact the editorial page editor(s).

Hornell- The Evening Tribune (The Town of Cohocton’s “Legal” paper)

The Evening Tribune
85 Canisteo St.
Hornell, NY 14843

Managing Editor – Andy Thompson, 607-324-1425

Corning – The Leader

Letters to the Editor
The Leader
PO Box 1017
Corning, NY 14830

Managing Editor – Joe Dunning, 607-936-4651 ext.362

Canandaigua – Daily Messenger

Daily Messenger
73 Buffalo St.
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Editorial Page Editor – Dan Hall, 800-724-2099, ext. 324

Rochester – Democrat and Chronicle

Letters to The Editor
Democrat and Chronicle
55 Exchange Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14614

Speaking Out Editor – M. Kathleen Wagner, 585-258-2414

Elmira – Star-Gazette

Opinion Page
PO Box 285
Elmira, NY 14902
Associate Editor – David W. Kubissa, 607-271-8217

Couple in Howard Denied Request to Have A Statement on Windfarms Read into Minutes of Meeting

Eric and Kyle Hosmer of Howard address the Howard Town Board meeting Wednesday night and asked that a letter they read to the board be placed in the official minutes. The request was denied for the time being. As a courtesy, we are printing portions of that letter here.

Editor's Note: The complete letter follows.
May 11, 2006 by Eric and Kyle Hosmer, Hornell in WLEA
To the Town of Howard Board, Residents and Community:

About four weeks ago, we were approached by a neighbor in regards to wind turbines being built in Howard, NY. We had noticed the radio towers at the top of our hill and heard something about wind turbines, but did not really understand what could possibly happen in the very near future to the hills where we bought our first home and plan to raise our children. On many occasions we have discussed the fact that we would like to spend the rest of our lives on this hill, but our plans did not include being surrounded by wind turbines. Since that day, we have been very attentive to meetings in the area and interviews done on radio regarding this issue. We began surfing the web and making contacts with people who had a much better understanding of the benefits verses costs of wind farms. Don’t get us wrong, we are not against green energy, but truly believe there is an appropriate place for it, and that it shouldn’t dash the dreams of people by affecting their quality of life, potentially devaluing their property and causing potential health issues, etc.

READ entire letter from the above link.

Friday, May 12, 2006










This agreement called "NEIGHBOR AGREEMENT AND GRANT OF EASEMENTS" is for landowners who abut or are living in close proximity to industrial wind turbines, but do not have a wind turbine on their land.

The purpose of this 17-page agreement is to grant the Wind Development Company certain rights and easements in exchange for monetary compensation. Shown here are highlighted notes revealing what the Company asks and what the Abutter receives.

WHAT IS GAINED BY THE ABUTTER OWNER: The abutter who signs this agreement typically gets paid at the rate of $42.00 per month ($500 per year), or perhaps a little more if his land is extremely important to the Company. He will not have a wind turbine on his land and most likely there will be wind turbines around his land and home.

WHAT IS GIVEN UP BY THE ABUTTER OWNER: By signing this Agreement it appears that the Abutting Owner gives up rights that are provided by the U. S. Constitution, as well as rights given to Citizens of New York State under the NYS Nuisance Laws, and rights normally associated with owning land.


1. The Abutter Owner shall Agree to "Over, Under, Upon, Along, and Across". The Owner agrees to irrevocably grant and convey to the Company the right to go over, under, upon, along and across the Owner's property for the Company's benefit at any time. For example, this could mean that the Company can put electrical transmission lines wherever they want and enlarge roads up to 3 rods, which is nearly 50 feet, and remove trees, etc. All at their discretion and without notice. (P.3, #4, P.4, #9, P.10, #2, etc.)

2. The Abutter Owner shall Agree to a "Wind Non-Obstruction Easement". The Owner agrees to an irrevocable exclusive easement which states that he shall not interfere with the wind above his property in anyway. This is called a "Wind Non-Obstruction Easement" and this prohibits the Owner from planting trees, building a silo, constructing buildings, putting up towers, etc., unless he gets prior written approval, which is at the sole discretion of the Company. (P.2, #1 and P.11, #2.1.)

3. The Abutter Owner shall Agree to an "Effects Easement". The Owner agrees to an irrevocable perpetual easement, called an "Effects Easement". The Owner agrees to accept without recourse effects and impacts of any kind whatsoever resulting directly or indirectly from the Company's Wind Project Operations. The effects and impacted named are: air turbulence, wake, ice, and all other weather created hazards, vibration, noise, light, view, visual and audio. (P.2, #2, P.3, #4, P.11, #2.2)

4. The Abutter Owner shall Agree to "Other Effect of Any Kind Whatsoever". Not spelled out, but perhaps implicit and implied are impacts on cell phone reception (an inconvenience); emergency vehicles communication equipment including EMT's, Police and Fire Department (a safety issue); effects from the noise and shadow flicker that have been reported to cause serious human health issues for neighbors living within a mile or so from turbines and these include: sleep deprivation, anxiety, headaches, migraine, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, stress, and depression. By signing these Agreements the Owner gives up any rights he has or his family has under the NYS Nuisances Laws for any compensation, reparation or remediation for legal nuisance and health problems. It can also be assumed that the Company is held harmless if the value of the Owners' property decreases in value or it cannot be sold. (P.2, #2,P.11, #2.2.)

5. The Abutter Owner shall Agree to a "Construction Impact" and "Fully Understands". Additionally, the Owner by signing the Agreement confirms that he has been informed of construction impacts such as noise and dust and construction traffic that may cause inconvenience, and he is agreeable to this. The Owner further understands and accepts that construction, operation and maintenance of the wind turbines may have some impacts on the neighbors and their properties, including the Owner's Property and he is agreeable to this. (P.1, #C P.2, #2)

6. The Abutter Owner "Accepts". The Owner, for himself, his heirs, administrators, executors, successors and assigns, does hereby waive, remise and release any right, claim or cause of action which he may now have or which he may have in the future against the Company as a direct or indirect result of the Wind Turbine Project. (P. 3, #4, #7)

7. The Abutter Owner "Acknowledges". The Owner acknowledges that the Company has informed him of the potential impacts of construction and operation and agrees the compensation provided in this agreement is adequate for any such impacts. (Has the Owner been informed in writing of what the impacts are? Could he ask for it in writing? P.2, #2)

8. The Abutter Owner shall Agree to "Fully Support and Cooperate" with the Company. The Owner must support the Company by signing documents, etc. as asked for by the Company. (P. 4, #9)

9. The Abutter Owner shall Agree "this Agreement is Confidential". This agreement shall not be disclosed. The owner is not allowed to discuss the terms of his agreement with others, under any circumstances. (P. 5, #10)

10. The Abutter Owner shall Agree that the "Annual Payment Covers all Impact, Effects, and Health Issues, etc." The Owner by signing the Agreement agrees that compensation provided by the Agreement (at the app. rate of $42 per month) is adequate for any and all such impacts and effects. (Apparently, under the broad wording of "all other effects of any kind" the Company is held harmless because the Owner has accepted monetary compensation and signed the Agreement.

11. The Abutter Owner shall Agree to allow the Company "To test his Television Reception". The Company has the irrevocable right to test the television signal strength and reception of the Owner prior to the construction of wind turbines and after the construction at reasonable intervals. At the Company's discretion they can take corrective measures to improve the reception if the wind turbines have affected it. No other testing is set out in this Agreement. P. 2, #3, P. 11, #2.3)

12. The Abutter Owner shall Agree that the "Agreement Run with the Land". Agreements signed by the Owner run with the land and are binding on the Owner's future heirs, administrators, executors, legal representatives, successors and assigns. (P. 3, #7, P. 12, #6, #8)

13. The Law of New York State shall Govern the Agreement. (P. 5, #11, P. 12, #7)

14. The Agreement is to be Signed in front of a notary by the Owner and a representative of the Company.

15. Length of Agreement is 40 years or until the windfarm stops generating electricity, which ever occurs first. (If the Wind Farm stops generating and is abandon, who pays to have the towers removed? Is there a bond provided to each town to cover such contingencies? P. 3, #8, P. 12, #3)

16. Without obtaining the "Owners Consent" or approval the Company can sell the Agreement to anyone and it is binding. (P. 3, #6)

17. If the wind project is not constructed, no payments will be made to the Abutter Owner. (P. 8)

THE AGREEMENT IS ATTACHED Read for yourself the Agreement and see if you could recommend this to a friend or neighbor for any amount of money, or for $42 per month.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Steuben Industrial Development Association (IDA) and UPC Wind Project by Robert C. Strasburg II

After receiving the letter from UPC suggesting revenues in the “range” of $660,000 for the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program offered to the Town of Cohocton, Steuben County and Wayland Cohocton Central School in return for favorable legislation allowing the placement of commercial wind turbines in the Town of Cohocton, I went to the IDA myself to ask some questions.

Since I have not been able to get a strait answer from the Town Board or the Planning Board as to what the formula was for determining potential income to our Town from the installation of these wind turbines, i.e. (how much were they selling our viewscape for) I decided to ferret out the data myself.

I met with James P. Sherron the Executive Director and found his information to be quite enlightening. Following is a summary of what I learned today:

The IDA is not able to get involved in a PILOT program such as the one proposed by the European fostered wind company known as UPC unless a Town formally invites the IDA.

In order to introduce government subsidies into a project in Steuben County, the IDA must be directly involved.

The IDA attaches ownership to properties where these proposed wind mills will go by taking Title or lease of these properties and thus removes these properties from the tax roles. This allows the PILOT program to then commence.

The terms and amounts of revenue from the PILOT program that will govern the wind turbine project in Cohocton are negotiable. Negotiations of these terms are done by the Lead Agency; in this case it is the Cohocton Planning Board.

The PILOT revenue is based on the potential sale of electricity and is not a guaranteed revenue amount.

The $660,000 as the suggested amount by UPC that Cohocton Town, Steuben County and the school may receive from this PILOT program is determined by a formula based on an assumed constant output of 30% of the actual wind turbine rating. (I was not able to verify this number and it does not conform to other studies I am familiar with, other studies suggest a much lower output in the range of 10-20%)

Here are the separate factors that combine to produce the formula used by UPC in their projection:

A 2MW turbine has a supposed potential output of 2 Megawatts per hour

UPC assumes a actual output of 30%* capacity

A Megawatt is 1000 kilowatts

The IDA used .04 to represent what a kilowatt of wind generated electricity can be sold for on the electrical grid


2MW wind turbine reduced to assumed actual production of 30% = 600 kilowatts per hour x .04 per kilowatt = $24 per hour x 24 hours in a day = $576 x 365 days per year = $210,240 per year per 2MW wind turbine gross revenue from the sale of electricity.

$210,240 per year per 2MW wind turbine x 58 proposed wind turbines in Phase 1 & Phase 2 of the Cohocton wind turbine project = $12,193,920 gross revenue for UPC per year.

Proposed $660,000 in total PILOT payments by UPC to Cohocton Town, Steuben County and the school ÷ $12,193,920 = 5% of gross revenue expensed by UPC in PILOT funds.

In summary, using the numbers provided to me by UPC and the IDA, 95% of the gross revenue generated from the sale of electricity from these 58 wind turbines included in the first two phases of the Cohocton wind project is in the control of a Privately held Corporation that has refused to disclose to me the identity of their investors. Has our Town sought to discern where this money is going? Does it stay in our Town? Our County? Our State? Our Country?

If the IDA did not remove these properties from the tax roles and UPC was obligated to pay the taxes that would then be levied on all 58 of these 2 Million dollar structures, these unknown investors would then flee our hills and Cohocton could then consider strategically placing 5 of these wind turbines throughout the Town in places chosen for their minimal impact and enjoy the $1,051,200 in revenue from the sale of electricity. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that we can service the debt, improve our Town, reduce our environmental and health impact and keep 100% of the revenue in our control with that kind of revenue. If they insist on having wind turbines, they should at least be smart about it.

I am all for alternative safe energy, but a study of the facts quickly reveals that this wind turbine industry is corrupt with corporate greed bilking tax subsidies, raping viewscapes, funneling American money out of local economies and worst of all, our Town Board has become victim to their seduction.

RE: Results of inquiry to Steuben Industrial Development Association (IDA) on 5/9/06 for confirmation of revenue formula presented by UPC Wind Management, LLC.

*30% IDA assumption may be high

Robert C. Strasburg II
60 Maple Ave.
Cohocton, New York 14826
Phone 585-384-9318
Cell 585-703-1299
Fax 585-384-9318

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

An Alternative to Corporate Wind Projects - C-BED Plan

Read the C-BED Community-Based Energy Development model from the permanent links on the right column.

Corporations model keeps 95% of revenues, while payout only 5% to landholders and local government.

C-BED model returns a 20-50% for local community project.

Judge for yourself, who has a better business plan.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cohocton Wind Watch Media Release - May 8, 2006

Cohocton Wind Watch [CWW] is sponsoring an informational meeting at Wayland-Cohocton Elementary School, 30 Park Ave., Cohocton,NY on May 18 at 7 PM.

According to Steve Trude, president of the organization, CWW plans to address issues raised by a Draft Environmental Statement [DEIS] prepared for a proposed wind farm atop the Pine Hill, Lent Hill and Brown Hill areas of Cohocton which is located in north-eastern Steuben County, New York.

Trude says the group also plans to question the efficacy of the project which was originally designed for smaller 1.5 megawatt wind turbines and now will use larger 2.0 megawatt turbines. The group will also discuss the Town of Cohocton's "Wind Mill Local Law #1."

Says Trude, "We want to make sure that the Town Board and Planning Board make the best choices for Cohocton and all of its landowners and residents."

The proposed wind farm, to be developed by UPC Wind Partners, LLC, of Massachusetts, would include 41 - 2.0 megawatt turbines, each 403 feet high. The project would be spread over 5,775 acres of leased land.

The turbines would be 13 times taller than an average utility pole, or roughly the height of Xerox Tower in nearby Rochester, NY. Current zoning laws would allow the turbines to be placed as close as 1,500 feet to nearby homes.

The turbines would be the largest built in New York State to date.

A second proposed project for the Dutch Hill area of the township would also be developed by UPC and would include 17 - 2.0 megawatt turbines.

CWW says they have many concerns about the proposed projects including a decrease in property values; lack of a feasibility study by the town; environmental and health concerns.

According to CWW, Realtors in neighboring communities where wind farms are proposed have seen many property owners selling properties in anticipation of towers being built.

Mike Keenan, a Realtor in nearby Naples, Ontario County, says he has already lost sales in towns where wind farms are proposed when prospective buyers have learned the turbines would be within their "viewscape."

Says Keenan, "Plain and simple, people don't want to look at towers."

According to the DEIS, the Cohocton turbines would be visible from many surrounding townships including Wayland, Avoca, Freemont, Howard, Wheeler, Prattsburgh, Italy and Naples as well as Canandaigua Lake.

According to Keenan, many out-of-state and downstate buyers are drawn to the region because of the low cost of housing and the scenic beauty of the area.

The DEIS states that some of the potential negative effects from construction and operation of the wind turbines include changes in the water table; sedimentation of ponds and streams; loss of wildlife habitat; loss of agricultural lands and woodlands; soil erosion and compaction; interference with communication signals; hazards created by "ice throw" and loss of tourism and recreational dollars.

CWW says it also questions tax incentives, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority cash transfers, Empire Zone deals and accelerated tax write-offs the out-of-state developers may have received.

The group says it is further concerned because several California wind farms developed by UPC's founder are no longer operational.

The group says it recently learned that UPC aided the town in the drafting of its "Wind Mill Local Law," and that some Cohocton lease-holders may have been offered more money per turbine than others.

In addition, says CWW, the DEIS contradicts itself in many places, has factual errors, contains inaccurate or incomplete maps and other mistakes.

"We are not against renewable forms of energy," says Trude. " In fact, we're all for it. We just question the size and scope of the project as well as its practicality. We don't believe the Town Board and Planning Board have thoroughly looked at all the issues involved."

The group says that through the "Freedom of Information Act", they have uncovered what appears to be irregularities in permitting for the project, including a lack of several key permitts required by Steuben County and New York State.

The Town of Cohocton has admitted that it has no clear idea as to how much revenue might be generated by the project, nor does it have a plan as to how it would spend the money.

Trude adds that town landowners have only until June 7, 2006 to respond to the DEIS, after which the town has said it will go ahead with the project. Construction is slated for the spring of 2007. The Town Board and Planning Board will only consider written questions. These should be sent in care of the Town Clerk, 15 South Main St., Cohocton, NY 14826.

The DEIS can be viewed on-line at, or at the Cohocton Town Hall, the Cohocton Public Library, the E. J. Cottrell Memorial Library in Atlanta, NY, and the UPC information office at 28 Maple Ave., Cohocton.

The "Wind Mill Local Law" is available at Town Hall. Cohocton Wind Watch can be reached at; PO Box 52, Cohocton, NY 14826, or, at 585-534-5581.