Chaumont – Home rule must prevail over “a disturbing trend” in state government to remove powers from local jurisdictions under Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act, according to Lyme town officials.
Joining several other towns, Lyme recently sent its official statement to the state Public Service Commission asking it to reinstate local control over the siting of energy development projects, such as industrial wind farms.
The commission’s public comment period for Article X amendments had ended May 29, but municipalities were given until today to submit theirs.
Representing Lyme in a letter to commission Secretary Jaclyn A. Brilling, town Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said that in a home rule state, municipalities “should ultimately decide whether such development is in their residents’ best interests.”
Lyme at one point had considered endorsing a letter drafted by environmental attorney Gary A. Abraham, who called for tougher noise restrictions for wind turbines, among other things, but the Town Council ultimately decided to draft its own statement – most likely to avoid controversy.
Local supporters of wind farms have accused Mr. Abraham, Allegany, of lobbying for anti-wind groups because of his past associations with the Wind Power Ethics Group, Cape Vincent, and the Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization, Clayton.
In their letter, Lyme officials further argued that the Power NY Act of 2011 strips communities of their constitutional rights by transferring the authority to make siting decisions to “a faceless bureaucracy.”
“The waterfront land makes up the majority of our tax base and there is a serious concern over loss of property value if the area is industrialized,” the letter states. “Our comprehensive plan calls for development that preserves or enhances the natural, historic, and scenic qualities of the town, and we feel that we, the people of the town, are the best judges of how to develop our town.”
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