Locals have lots of say in siting wind turbines

Posted 1 April 2015 at 12:00 am


This is in response to Editor Tom Rivers’ article dated March 31, 2015, regarding the upcoming APEX / Public Service Commission informational meeting in Barker. Click here to see “PSC reps will be at Barker meeting on wind project.”

The article refers to “the state’s new Article 10 process, which Orleans County officials say takes away home rule in permitting of the turbines.” This legislation isn’t “new,” it was enacted in 2011 to clarify and consolidate laws governing wind power generating facilities in NYS.

Article 10 doesn’t take away anything. It sets rules for companies to follow when looking to build Industrial Wind Turbines; rules including requirements to follow local, regional, county, state and federal laws, along with public outreach, health and environmental concerns, property values, and working with local government.

Article 10 states that developers must review local zoning and building codes to ensure they are in compliance. Regarding Save Ontario Shores, Mr. Nesbitt’s statement that “They’re putting pressure on the locals and they have no control,” couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The Towns of Yates and Somerset have a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, and Yates has very specific laws governing wind power generation facilities proposed for the town; Local Law No. 1, which is part of the zoning law and has been since Article 10, was introduced.

Concluding in 2012, the Town of Cape Vincent NY, an area very much like Yates and Somerset, defeated BP’s efforts to install wind turbines by enforcing their local law, directing their argument to the Public Service Commission. Yates and Somerset can do the same.

One Yates law governing wind turbines limits their total height to 420 feet, and that’s just one of many presently on the books. Town Boards are also required to issue Special Use Permits for such developments, which require the plan be review by Planning Boards and recommendations as to whether the plans meet zoning and other applicable laws.

The assertions of the Somerset and Yates Boards, and County officials that permitting is up to the state is inaccurate. The Towns of Yates and Somerset have a great deal of influence.

Glenn Maid