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Cape Vincent passes wind law, asks Planning Board to terminate BP’s application

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CAPE VINCENT — The Town Council unanimously voted Wednesday morning to adopt a new zoning law that includes strict restrictions on wind turbines and asked the Planning Board to consider terminating BP Wind Energy’s application for a wind farm.

Cape Vincent officials said at Wednesday’s special meeting that BP’s application should be discarded because there has been no activity for a year prior to the town’s seven-month wind moratorium — enacted in February — and because the company has already indicated it would ask a state siting board to consider the project.

BP has taken no action since submitting its supplemental draft environmental impact statement for the project on Feb. 10, 2011, said Councilman Clifford P. Schneider.

Since Peter Gross left, BP has not even contacted the town, said Town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey. The new project manager, Richard F. Chandler, took over earlier this year.

Town officials have been learning about BP’s latest plans second-hand, Mr. Schneider had said.

BP confirmed in July that it hopes to bypass strict local restrictions proposed for wind turbines and expedite the approval of its Cape Vincent Wind Farm by seeking an Article X process with the state.

Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act generally imposes a 12-month deadline for the approval of the construction and operation of major electric-generating facilities of 25 megawatts or higher.

The company had told the state Public Service Commission the Cape Vincent project “can reach upwards of approximately 285 megawatts in size.”

BP is still “tweaking” its plans for a proposed $300 million project in Cape Vincent.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, landowners in support of wind development submitted a petition that would have forced a supermajority vote to pass the zoning changes, but all of the Town Council’s decisions — to pass the zoning law, Comprehensive Plan and resolution to ask the Planning Board to terminate the BP application — were unanimous with four votes. The five-member board has a vacant seat because of a resignation.

Cape Vincent’s Planning Board is scheduled to hold its next regular meeting Wednesday night.

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