|The nearly completed Town of Cape Vincent|
Draft Zoning law will undergo revisions as
a result of two public comment sessions
and several legal reviews before it
goes to the town board for a vote.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Town of Cape Vincent zoning ordinance committee has about ten pages and two weeks to go on their initial draft.
The Town of Cape Vincent Zoning Ordinance committee chairman, Bob Brown, started the May 1 committee meeting by discussing information that members had collected from a visit with Fourth Coast Inc. regarding how their town zoning draft law is addressing the siting of solar arrays. Clayton, NY firm Fourth Coast Inc. provides services for renewable energy systems related to residential, commercial and government. They provided the committee with information that assisted the committee in confirming their work in determining setbacks for solar arrays. It was emphasized that an up to date zoning ordinance should protect the solar rights of homeowners. For example, setbacks for solar arrays should be established and enforced so growth of neighbors' trees would not shield the planned solar arrays from light. Brown said that solar is being addressed accordingly in the Draft.
Chairman Brown reported that the definitions appendix of the draft law had been substantially reduced. As the committee has been doing their work over a several months period, they have been researching, analyzing and agreeing on a standard definition of various zoning terms. Their work resulted in a large list of terminology which has now been reviewed, refined and condensed for inclusion in the draft zoning law.
Committee member Clif Schnieder and Chairman Brown attended this weeks Town of Lyme Planning Board Meeting of their wind law committee. They presented information regarding the Town of Cape Vincent's Zoning Ordinance work and conducted a question-answer period.
After the Town of Lyme meeting, Bob Brown consulted with the committee's Attorney, Paul Cutin regarding a few issues they discussed with the Town of Lyme committee.
Attorney Curtin re-affirmed that all zoning laws apply equally to wind lease holders as well as non-lease, non industrial wind project participants. Curtin confirmed that the Town's zoning laws take precedent over any "good neighbor agreements" that may have been entered into between wind developers and town of Cape Vincent property owners.
During a following discussion, the committee agreed that Attorney Curtin was keeping them on a straight path on this issue. Committee member Butch Cullen agreed saying that private agreements between developers and neighboring land owners would be the same as the landowner writing their own variance for a project. Neighbors to a project are not allowed to write their own zoning laws. The community controls variances and additions to the zoning law through the authority of the town's Zoning Board of Appeals. So, the rules have to be the same for wind lease holders as those for non wind development participants.
As a point of information, Chairman Brown emphasized that "with good reason" at no time has the present map or names of wind lease holders ever been "on the table" nor have industrial wind lease holders in the Town of Cape Vincent ever been discussed by the zoning committee.
Chairman Brown passed on a comment from Cape resident Hester Chase recommending that the town submit a comment during the Article X draft public hearing which is going on now. Hester had informed Brown that citizens in Hammond, Cape Vincent and other communities are looking into hiring a lawyer to represent them with Article X stakeholder concerns regarding Article X.
Committee member Clif Schneider reminded the committee that he, as a town board member, as well as many other wind targeted community members served as stakeholders during the formulation of the Draft Article X which is now being reviewed during the public hearing.
A letter from town engineer Kris Demmick, Bernier and Carr, regarding regulations for "farm turbines" was discussed. Farm turbines are generally in the 10 to 50KW range of production. Depending on the height, a 1080' safety setback from all farm living quarters is being recommended. Those regulations for set backs will be more definitive in the draft document.
Chairman Bob Brown later told JLL that there are only ten more pages of the draft to be reviewed and he is hoping that the Town of Cape Vincent Zoning Ordinance Draft will be ready to go to the lawyer by the end of next week. After that initial legal review the Draft Zoning Ordinance will be available in the Cape Library as well as published on the town website. There will then be an initial public comment session after which it will go back to committee, reviewed and then go back once again to Attorney Curtin. After Attorney Curtin's review it will then go through the legal public hearing process, another legal review and then to the town board for approval in late summer or early fall 2012.