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Cape Vincent passes wind law, asks Planning Board to terminate wind farm application

The town board unanimously voted this morning to adopt the new zoning law, which includes strict restrictions on wind turbines, and recommended that its Planning Board terminate BP Wind Energy’s local application for a wind farm in Cape Vincent.

Cape Vincent officials said at a special meeting today that BP’s application should be discarded because there has been no activity for a year prior to the town’s 7-month wind moratorium – enacted in February – and because the company has already indicated it would ask a state siting board to consider the project.

BP confirmed in July that it hopes to bypass strict local restrictions proposed for wind turbines and expedite the approval of its Cape Vincent Wind Farm by seeking an Article X process.

Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act generally imposes a 12-month deadline for the approval of the construction and operation of major electric generating facilities of 25 megawatts or higher. The company had told the state Public Service Commission that the Cape Vincent project “can reach upwards of approximately 285 megawatts in size.”

At today’s special meeting, town landowners in support of wind development submitted a petition which would have forced a supermajority vote to pass the zoning changes. However, all of the Town Council’s decisions today – to pass the zoning law, Comprehensive Plan and the resolution to ask its Planning Board to terminate the BP application – were unanimous with four votes.

Cape Vincent’s Planning Board is scheduled to hold its next regular meeting Wednesday, Aug. 8.