CAPE VINCENT Opinions were split once again Wednesday night over why and to what extent Cape Vincents government should restrict industrial wind development.
At the forum to discuss proposed revisions in the towns zoning law, only a dozen or so spoke up during the comment session but well over 50 residents flocked to the Recreation Park for a chance to air their thoughts to members of the revision committee and each other.
Landowners, farmers are being pushed aside, said Paul C. Mason, an outspoken proponent of wind power.
Many farmers and their families in Cape Vincent say commercial wind turbines on their vast, open plains are a much-desired extra stream of revenue to keep them going.
But many others, including those who come to Cape Vincent to retire or spend their summers, want to preserve towns natural beauty and oppose commercial wind turbines which they believe would devalue their properties and potentially cause health issues.
And that is why Cape Vincents Zoning Committee in its draft law proposes to extend turbine setbacks and put in place strict limits on noise levels.
We, the community, have decided that we want to preserve the scenic views and rural landscapes that we have. Thats whats written in our Comprehensive Plan, said David LaMora. It doesnt matter if you think wind turbines are majestic and that when you see them turning, youre seeing money going into your grandparents and your farm and all that. It doesnt matter.
While residents like Mr. Mason view these newly proposed restrictions as an effort to effectively shut out wind development in Cape Vincent, some believe even more protection is needed in the law to protect town residents from noise pollution.
Donald J. Metzger, who has been following the issue closely, said the draft law does not mention infrasound inaudible, lowest frequency noise that travels great distances.
Mr. Metzger said the newer, larger turbines emit even more infrasound and that, on top of the A- and C-weighted noise limits proposed, the town needs to add restrictions on this type of noise that can cause illness.
For the past six or seven years, the community has been fighting over the issue because energy developers saw the open land in this small Northern New York town and decided it would be a great place to harness wind power.
Currently, BP Wind Energy is tweaking its plans for a proposed $300 million Cape Vincent Wind Farm project that would produce approximately 200 megawatts of electricity from more than 100 turbines.
The firm already has hinted it could avoid strict local laws by seeking approval from the states energy projects siting board under Article X of the 2011 Power N.Y. Act which regulates the siting of electrical energy-generation facilities with more than 25 megawatts.
Robert S. Brown, chairman of Cape Vincents Zoning Law Revision Committee, said at Wednesdays forum that he will be suggesting changes be made to the current proposal based on community feedback.
Upon reviewing the committees final proposal, the town board plans to hold a formal public hearing July 21 and vote on adopting the proposed changes to its zoning law as soon as Aug. 1.