Cohocton Wind Watch: Cape ZBA stands by ruling on turbine
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cape ZBA stands by ruling on turbine

CAPE VINCENT — The town's Zoning Board of Appeals is standing by its decision that Roger D. Alexander's 92-foot-tall personal wind turbine is illegal.

At a ZBA meeting Monday, Chairman Edward P. Bender said Mr. Alexander does not have to take his wind turbine down immediately. It's up to the Town Council to make that decision, he said.

If the town board upholds the ZBA's decision at its Oct. 8 meeting, the town's zoning enforcement officer will notify Mr. Alexander of his violation by mail, giving him 14 days to take down the turbine.

After a public hearing on the issue, The ZBA voted unanimously to treat residential wind turbines as an accessory structure. Section 585 of the zoning law, which deals with such structures on individual lots, limits their height to 35 feet.

The turbine was constructed after permits were issued by the town's zoning enforcement officer, Alan N. Wood, in May. The permit was renewed in July. Mr. Alexander, owner of the Lazy Acres Mobile Home Park, said he erected a personal wind turbine next to his residence on County Route 7 to reduce his utility bill.

"The permit was improperly issued," Mr. Bender said Monday.

After the tower went up, a neighbor, Mary C. Grogan, filed a complaint with the ZBA.

"When I come up here next spring, I don't want to see it there," Mrs. Grogan said.

Albert J. Gibbs, who also lives next to Mr. Alexander, said Monday that he was upset Mr. Alexander never notified his neighbors about the turbine. Mr. Gibbs said he has Meniere's disease and argued the noise from the turbine would cause him to lose balance. Meniere's disease is an inner-ear disorder that causes dizziness, tinnitus and hearing loss.

David B. Guertsen, Mr. Alexander's attorney, said Mr. Alexander's neighbors had plenty of time to complain before the turbine was erected as his client completed the foundation for the tower last September. Mr. Guertsen said his client spent $80,000 to erect the turbine and the ZBA should uphold Mr. Wood's decision to issue the permit.

Mr. Wood said he issued the permits because he was told, by both the zoning and planning boards, there were no setback and height rules for residential wind turbines in the zoning ordinance.

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