Zoning is one of the few arenas where individuals still have some power over private corporations.
Zoning and land-use planning is what allows us to keep green space in our towns and preserve the character of neighborhoods. It allows us to place industrial areas next to transportation corridors and still protect farmland, watersheds and scenic vistas. It allows us to preserve wildlife and develop parks.
In 1990, the citizens of Beekmantown developed the land-use plan and zoning laws that are still in force today. These laws were developed after many public hearings and several town-wide questionnaires. They embody the rights of the townspeople to decide on future land uses in their own town. These zoning laws do not allow industrial power-generation facilities to be placed in residential areas.
In a Letter to the Editor, David Manwell suggests that these laws be ignored when it comes to wind-turbine facilities. At a recent public hearing, he even argued that eminent domain be used to give private property to heavily tax-subsidized, private wind-power companies.
The Clinton County Planning Board voted against the proposed Beekmantown project. The Beekmantown Zoning Board, however, has chosen to ignore the land-use plan developed by the citizens of their own town. However, only elected representatives can change the laws. The un-elected members of the Zoning Board do not have the authority to change the town zoning restrictions.
The members of the West Beekmantown Neighborhood Association agree with the need for renewable energy, including wind power. However, we also believe that the citizens of a town have the right to develop land-use plans and zoning laws and that those laws should be respected. We believe the State Supreme Court will agree and will instruct the Beekmantown Zoning Board to uphold the town’s zoning laws.
For the 100-plus members
West Beekmantown Neighborhood Association
19 February 2007
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