Friday, April 6, 2012

Town of Cape Vincent Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan Committees meet.

Last evening, I attended the Town of Cape Vincent Village-Town Comprehensive Plan Committee which was held at the Town Recreation Park.

At the beginning of the meeting, Chairman Clif Schneider reported on his attendance at the Town Zoning Ordinance Committee which was held at 1:30 PM at the Recreation park.

Schneider reported that the Zoning Ordinance Committee discussed set backs for industrial wind turbine projects proposed in our town. The industrial wind turbine set backs are necessary for the health, safety and view shed protection of the town citizens. The setbacks, (presently being considered) based on research and engineer recommendations are:

* Three miles from the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

* Out of view, as determined by the height of proposed turbines,  of the shorelines of the Town's Lake and River Islands which are Fox, Grenadier, Carlton and Linda Islands.

* A mile and a half from either side of Route 12E which has been designated and promoted  nationally as the Seaway Trail and is recognized as a United States Scenic Byway.

* A safe distance setback  that follows the town engineer's determination of ice and debris throws from any proposed turbine model.

* A designated setback from the Hamlet of Rosiere.

* A setback based upon a wind turbine noise limit of 35 Decibels as measured from a landowner's parcel lot line.

* A designated safety, distraction and noise wind turbine setback from all schools.

* Visual impact and view shed set backs from Town of Cape Vincent areas of Historical Recognition.

Schneider added that zoning regulations would not allow industrial wind developers  to make private agreements that would superseded the zoning ordinance intent to provide safety, health and well being for its citizens.

Concerns were expressed that the new Zoning Ordinance was not going to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents in the immediate Rosiere area. Schneider said that in his opinion, the combination of the noise, historical preservation, object throw and view shed regulations would serve well in protecting the country life style and home values of Rosiere area residents. 

Committee member Richard MacSherry, also the Town Planning Board Chairman, told the committee that after the Comp Plan and Ordinance are complete, he will contact Peter Gross of British Petroleum and present to him the new zoning laws. It will then be up to Gross to determine if their industrial wind project is still within the law and viable.

Schneider also reported that the Town Zoning Ordinance Committee discussed the formation of a commercial district that would be located directly south of Stone Quarry Rd. and bordered by Rt. 12E, Deerlick Farm Rd. and County Rt. 6. The advantage of this Commercial Block would be it's location to town infrastructure such as water, sewer, and three phase power as well as being ii being adjacent to the Village.

Protecting the health, safety, and welfare of
residents of the Hamlet of Rosiere, NY from the
impacts of industrial wind turbines is a concern of the
Town of Cape Vincent Comprehensive Plan
and Zoning Ordinance Committees.
During discussion, Committee member Dave LaMora recommended that the town might look at the commercial park area as a location for a "business incubator". Business incubators are programs designed to support the successful development of small entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services, developed and orchestrated by incubator management and offered both in the incubator and through its network of contacts. Incubators vary in the way they deliver their services, in their organizational structure, and in the types of clients they serve. Successful completion of a business incubation program increases the likelihood that a startup company will stay in business for the long term. They provide help with business basics, marketing assistance, financial start up advice and a variety of management services often provided by community volunteers. 

At one point in the meeting, Committee Member Sam Delong pointed out that one of Cape Vincent's strengths was the abundance of community volunteers, many retired, who have brought to Cape Vincent a variety of professional experience. Committee member Richard MacSherry agreed, adding that the experiences brought to Cape Vincent by people retiring here for its beauty and peaceful lifestyle should be listed in the Town Comprehensive Plan as a strength.

A weakness of the town, which was discussed by the Committee, included the inability of local businesses to remain active during the winter months. But, the committee also recognized that for many part time residents, the season is getting longer every year as more and more are winterizing their homes and spending more of the year in Cape Vincent. 
It was pointed out that a fact of seasonal business life is that in the winter, people get into the habit of going elsewhere when local businesses close.

Committee member Brooks Bragdon reiterated that historical preservation should be encouraged in the new version of the Comprehensive Plan and the plan should encourage further development of the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse attraction to include a multi-media educational center that presents our local Lake and River history.

Bragdon, a licensed sales agent, also told the committee that in his mind, he had no doubt that as the threat of indiscriminate industrial wind tubine sitings are removed from the Town, investing in Cape Vincent homes and land appears more promising.

The Comp Plan committee is presently reviewing the 2003 document and making changes in the area of Cape Vincent strengths and weaknesses.