November 13, 2010
New York

Binsley quietly resigns from Cape Vincent town planning board

by Timothy W. Scee II, Special to, 11 November 2010

CAPE VINCENT, N.Y.  – After a stormy Cape Vincent town Planning Board meeting Wednesday, filled with tensions between the board’s chairman and a town citizen, board member Andrew R. Binsley privately resigned his post.

“Here’s my resignation,” Binsley told town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey, handing him a piece of paper after the meeting. “This is my last meeting.”

As Planning Board Chairman Richard J. Edsall began the meeting by asking for members’ approval of the board’s Oct. 13 minutes, Hester M. Chase, 4866 Bedford Corners Rd., stood up to raise concerns about minutes from an Oct. 27 special meeting, which were not addressed for approval Wednesday.

“According to the by-laws of this Planning Board, the public at this time has a right to make a comment, oral or written,” Chase said.

The “Planning Board By-Laws,” which Chase was apparently referring to, Section 3, Article III, reads, “Commentary from the general public shall be received prior to the conduct of the regular business agenda. Comments may be presented orally or in writing. Each speaker shall state his or her name and address and shall be limited to a maximum of five (5) minutes.”

Edsall replied, “Will you sit down please?”

“No, I will not,” she said. “This is my right. It is every person in this room’s right.”

She continued, “And we’re gonna start getting our rights straight, Mr. Edsall. You guys are lawless.”

With Chase still attempting to speak, the board approved the Oct. 13 minutes with a motion made by board member George A. Mingle and seconded by Binsley.

In its next three orders of business, the Planning Board held public hearings before giving the OK for a property owners to make subdivisions and consolidations for lots.

“For this item only, would anyone in the public like to speak,” Edsall asked of the first land consolidation.

A man standing in the crowd of nearly 30 said, “This board is corrupt, I don’t think they should be making any decisions on any process going on.”

The chairman replied, “The comments are not relevant to that subdivision.”

Criticism from anti-wind proponents has come heavily during recent town Planning Board meetings since the state attorney general’s office launched an investigation in to some board members’ ethics regarding wind farm development in August.

During the Planning Board’s Oct. 27 meeting, John L. Byrne, chairman of the Wind Power Ethics Group (WPEG), announced his group will sue the board on grounds that it breached the Environmental Quality Review Act for the proposed St. Lawrence Wind Farm project.

“We believe what’s going to happen at the meeting here this month, they’re going to ask for more time to submit a more complete record in December,” Byrne said of the town.

Edsall, however, said the earliest discussions on wind power development would not be until February 2011.

Binsley did not return a call Wednesday night for comment.

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