The town of Hammond, NY has faced the same challenges as Cape Vincent after a huge Spanish wind developer, Iberdrola, secretly slipped into town, signed up landowners, paid them money, took control of their property and then indentured them to do all they could to promote the siting of industrial wind in their town.
Years ago, when the Hammond wind secrets were no longer so secret, one Hammond resident kiddingly bragged to me that, “My town officials are even more corrupt with wind than Cape Vincent!” We never really settled the argument of who was first and who was second but trying harder. Hammond applied their rights to local rule and cleaned up their government’s wind corruption. Cape Vincent took their lead and did the same, all the time citizens in the two communities were keeping in touch, planning new strategies and sharing some successes and some minor setbacks in the battle of local rule vs corporate rule by the wind developers and lease holders.
Just like Cape Vincent, Hammond became the victim of industrial wind developer town shopping. Hammond was blindsided by developers and their leaseholders and were not properly prepared. So. immediately after tossing out the wind lease holding public officials, their next step was to do what they were previously denied. They set laws that would “ensure that public health, safety and welfare will not be jeopardized” by the building of wind turbines.
Then, the Article 78 petition cried foul! Daniel I. and Michele W. McQueer, Steven S. Demick, William F. Hadlock and Crayton L. Buck and the wind developer claimed in the Article 78 that the new wind law was targeting them and the new law was “creating undue restrictions on where the turbines may be placed”. That would be the same as saying the new Hammond Law was overly burdensome.
In a victory of local rule vs corporate rule in wind siting matters, State Supreme Court Judge David R. Demarest sided with the town and has dismissed the case that pitted five landowners against the town of Hammond. Demerest ruled that Hammond’s wind law follows a “well-considered and comprehensive plan which serves its residents” and is not arbitrary or capricious.
Keep in mind that Article X rules and regulations say that it is up to British Petroleum to prove that the the Town of Cape Vincent’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning laws are overly burdensome. Article X does not specifically take away our town’s rights and our duty to write a Comprehensive Plan and set local laws. Article X does not strip away our rights to revise our Village-Town Comprehensive Plan nor is it a decree that our Town is not allowed to set zoning rules which protect the health, welfare and safety of our citizens.
The recent Hammond legal victory over pro-wind was also a great win for Cape Vincent, NY and set precedent for any attempt by British Petroleum or their wind lease holders who might want to file similar Article X action against The Town of Cape Vincent.