The Western Catskill Preservation Alliance filed an Article 78 petition Friday against the town of Stamford for the way the Town Council handled its “Wind Energy Facilities” ordinance.
The ordinance passed in a 4-1 vote last month.
Ron Karam, president of the alliance, said the petition was filed because the Town Council did not follow proper SEQRA _ State Environmental Quality Review Act _ regulations and did not get advice from outside experts before writing the ordinance. An Article 78 petition appeals the decision of a government agency in New York.
Karam said the group recognizes an ordinance was needed “to control the wind industry.” It contends the town did not go about the process correctly.
“There’s a lot they didn’t do,” Karam said. “That’s the crux of the argument.”
He said the town was supposed to get an environmental impact statement as soon as a possible project was identified, and it didn’t do so.
The petition was filed in state Supreme Court in Chenango County.
“I don’t believe a judge will rule against us,” Councilwoman Katherine Engert said. “I don’t believe we did anything wrong. I don’t think the Article 78 will go against the town.”[an error occurred while processing this directive]Engert said she knew there were “a lot” of people who were unhappy with the ordinance.
Engert also thought there were some areas _ such as setbacks and sound levels _ that should have been more stringent, she said.
Engert voted in favor of the ordinance. She said she was sympathetic with the people who were not happy with the law.
“It’s better than no law at all,” Engert said. “They don’t understand that the law itself isn’t polluting the environment.”
Karam said the petition should be resolved within about 60 days, and it will have a court date within 30 days.
Town Supervisor Patrick Ryan did not return several messages left at his home Monday.
Representatives from Invenergy, a wind-energy company that is also named in the petition, did not return phone calls left at the company’s Chicago offices Monday.
Langdon Chapman, attorney for the town, said he hadn’t seen the petition and therefore wouldn’t comment on it.
By Amy L. Ashbridge
19 June 2007
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