Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lyme extends wind moratorium

CHAUMONT — The town of Lyme's moratorium on wind power development will last another year.

The Town Council voted 3-1 Wednesday night to extend the moratorium, which includes personal wind turbines and all ancillary structures. Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine, Councilman Warren A. Johnson and Councilwoman Anne M. "Boo" Harris supported it, while Councilman Donald R. Bourquin opposed it.

The council recognized 26 letters; all but one supported extending the moratorium to Oct. 12, 2011. More than 20 people made comments at the meeting; about 15 voiced support for the moratorium.

Peter J. Rogers, Three Mile Point, was one of them.

"When I came off Three Mile Point tonight, I envisioned what it would look like with a bunch of turbines," he said. "I don't care what the economic benefits are in the town. It's about the quality of life here."

Bruce Way, Three Mile Bay, said, "When I heard about Maple Ridge, I was very optimistic, but there are so many reports about how much noise there is and what the other problems are. Once you put the turbines in, you can't go back."

But wind power proponents argued the town had waited long enough to put a second law together.

A moratorium was first enacted in the town in April 2007. Before Wednesday's action, the board extended it in November 2007, January 2008, April 2008, October 2008, April 2009 and October 2009.

"This will be the moratorium's fourth year," said Julia E. Gosier, Three Mile Bay. "It's illegal and will result in another lawsuit."

She said it was possible the developer of St. Lawrence Wind Farm would consider a lawsuit. Acciona Wind Energy USA has proposed to run 5.7 miles of its 9-mile transmission line through Lyme. But the moratorium prevents submitting an application on the effort.

"Consider the damage you're doing to the town's relationship with Cape Vincent," she said. "You must not throw up a roadblock to the projects they are trying to complete."

Acciona's project manager, Timothy Q. Conboy, presented the positives of the project and asked for an end to the moratorium.

"Lyme has had ample opportunity to enact a local law," he said. "Extending the moratorium is fundamentally unfair to project sponsors and those who wish to see wind power."

The council passed a strict wind development zoning law May 6, 2008, despite a petition from 10 landowners representing more than 20 percent of affected land protesting the decision. Supreme Court Judge Hugh A. Gilbert agreed with the landowners Aug. 21, saying the council acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" when it rejected the petition. That ruling was upheld by a state appellate court Dec. 30.

The council since has tried to work on a wind zoning law, but a divided public has led the council to try to appoint two wind committees and put together a new survey of town residents to determine setbacks.

The council has not yet appointed members to the committees.

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