Cohocton Wind Watch: Orangeville anti-wind group aims to continue lawsuit appeal
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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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Orangeville anti-wind group aims to continue lawsuit appeal

ORANGEVILLE — Clear Skies Over Orangeville aims to continue its appeal of its lawsuit against the town’s 2009 zoning amendments.

The group that opposes the proposed Stony Creek Wind Farm filed a motion Monday to reargue the case. It is also asking permission to appeal to the Court of Appeals in Albany.

If those motions are denied, CSOO will pursue a separate request for permission to appeal directly to the Court of Appeals, said Gary Abraham, the group’s attorney.

CSOO plans to argue there was a lack of any factual basis for the town’s zoning amendments allowing 50 decibels for such projects; and ethics violations by the Town Board.

Although not part of the appeal, Abraham has questioned the joint motion filed by Invenergy.

“During the course of the proceedings, and particularly in the appellate court, the town and Invenergy put in briefs that were identical,” he said in an interview last month. “I strongly suspect Invenergy did all the legal work, which would constitute a questionable gift of services.”

But that issue isn’t part of the appeal.

Town Attorney David DiMatteo said Invenergy’s attorney Hodgson Russ has been involved since CSOO’s lawsuit was first heard in court.

“Obviously we collaborated with regards to the responses,” he said. “Invenergy’s attorney Hodgson Russ entered understanding our interests were unified, and were granted entry by Supreme Court, granting them permission to intervene because our interests were so similar.”

He said the court and appeals judges weren’t swayed by CSOO’s previous arguments.

If successful, the CSOO appeal would be the latest in the ongoing legal action over the project.

The group originally filed suit in Jan.10. Its members sought to invalidate the town’s 2009 zoning amendments, which set the rules for wind turbine development.

The lawsuit was dismissed by State Supreme Court Judge Patrick NeMoyer. The CSOO members appealed, but a five-judge panel upheld his decision in a March ruling.

The group’s arguments were almost entirely rejected in NeMoyer’s decision, which found no conflicts of interest or ethics violations.

In an open letter to town residents last month, the Town Board said the lawsuit and appeal had cost the town $29,789.61. Abraham said last month that CSOO was reluctant to say how much it’s spent, but that its funding was raised by people in the community, and did not include outside sources.

The Chicago-based Invenergy is proposing a 59-turbine wind farm in Orangeville. It operates a similar project in the adjacent town of Sheldon.

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