Well-watered Otsego 2000 has announced it will support a so-called Article 78 action to block the Jordanville Wind Project, allowing a vigorous legal challenge to the plan to erect 68 turbines within view of Otsego Lake.
A resolution, released Wednesday, July 11, by Otesgo 2000 Executive Director Martha Frey, doesn’t say the organization will bring any action itself, but that it will support litigation brought by opponents closer to the wind farm planned along a ridge between Van Hornesville and Jordanville in southern Herkimer County – Advocates for Stark and Advocates for Springfield, “or their members or other affected parties with standing.”
Several additional “petitioners” have come forward from the neighborhoods around the project, Frey said, in addition to five that had surfaced last week.
“There is no such thing as the maximum amount,” she said. “But there are a number of people who feel the project is going to harm them in some way, and they are coming forward and want to be petitioners.”
While Otsego 2000 is clwearly the blinking lights from the 400-foot-tall towers will be visible from as far away at the docks at Cooperstown, people closer to the proper have raised concerns about noise, real-estate values, health detriments and other topics. Steve Reichenbach, one of the petitioners, snapped a photograph the other day of a golden eagle near where one of the turbines is planned.
Sue Brander of Advocates for Stark said Wednesday she hadn’t yet heard from Otsego 2000, and was awaiting a further briefing.
Otsego 2000, in effect, said the towns of Warren and Stark failed to apply the “hard look” test to the Jordanville project, as required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The towns accepted the Final Environmental Impact Statement from Community Energy, the prospective developer, on July 20 and 21, starting the 30-day clock on filing an Article 78 proceeding.
Frey, who said she believes the appeal must be filed by July 20, referred questions about the details of the ligitation, where it would be filed and what it would specifically allege, to Drayton Grant, Otsego 2000’s environmental lawyer.
The executive director also declined to characterize the discussion at the Tuesday, July 3, Otesgo 2000 board meeting, as to whether a vigorous debate ensued and whether the vote was unanimous.
The resolution calls Otsego Lake “a masterpiece of nature” and “an intact cultural landscape, which through the writings of James Fenimore Cooper has helped form America’s ideas of nature, conservation, and the environment.”
It says the “long-term economic well-being of the region and quality of life for its residents” depend on proper stewardship of these resources. And it cites the damage to the tranquillity of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church abroad.
Meanwhile, county Rep. Nancy Iversen, D-Otsego, who had questioned what the Otesgo County board could do, given home rule, expanded on her comments, saying “I also think the impact that one community has on another community has to be taken into account.
“For example, the Cooperstown Dreams Park … The town that allowed Dreams Park had the right to do that, provided there was an impact statement on what it would do to surrounding communities. I don’t think there’s ever been a complete SEQR review of the whole project; while individual pieces might not have tremendous impact, the whole Dreams Park has an phenemonal impact on the Village of Cooperstown.
On the Jordanville project, she said, “I’m very concerned about the visual impact. I think wind farms and clean energy are very important ideas. Wind is a good clean alternative-energy source, but you need to think very carefully about where to place it.”
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