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Court rejects Orangeville group's lawsuit appeal a second time

ORANGEVILLE – A state appeals court has rejected a second attempt by Clear Skies Over Orangeville to appeal its lawsuit against the town.

The request was denied Friday by the Fourth Judicial Department of the State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

“This decision re-affirms for the third time that the town board acted properly, ethically, and in full accordance with New York State law when approving our zoning code, especially as it relates to wind energy systems,” said Town Supervisor Sue May in a news release.

“The town board spent more than two years researching and performing its due diligence and working with our town attorneys in adopting a zoning code that strongly protects the interests of Orangeville and its residents and this decision reaffirms, yet again, that we did exactly that.”

CSOO originally filed suit in Jan. 2010. Its members sought to invalidate the town’s 2009 zoning amendments, which set the rules for wind turbine development.

The lawsuit was dismissed in April 2010 by State Supreme Court Judge Patrick NeMoyer. The CSOO members appealed, but a five-judge panel upheld his decision in a March ruling.

The group’s arguments were almost entirely rejected in NeMoyer’s decision, which found no conflicts of interest or ethics violations.

‘‘We hope that this third ruling denying CSOO’s lawsuit will finally put this matter to rest so the town board can continue to work with the entire community to complete a thorough and full review of the proposed wind farm,’’ May said in the news release.

“The original lawsuit and two subsequent appeals have had no merit and have resulted in the unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer funds,” she continued. “The town needs to complete its review of the project without further delay or expense.”

Gary Abraham, attorney for CSOO, could not be immediately reached for comment as of press time Tuesday evening.

CSOO opposes the proposed Stony Creek Wind Farm which would be located in the town. The project has been proposed by Chicago-based Invenergy, which operates a similar wind farm in the adjacent town of Sheldon.

The Stony Creek project is in its environmental review phase. May said she’s optimistic the review should be completed by summer.