BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Friday, April 10, 2015



August 2013, The Maine Department of Environmental Protection denied a 16 turbine wind project. Their findings indicated that the project would have a widespread negative scenic effect on 14 nearby lakes, eight of which are designated as scenic resources of state or national significance.


Anonymous said...

Here's a question maybe someone can answer. On advice from a friend,I just read the Cape Vincent Comprehensive Plan, and new zoning Law. If the town wants to be part of the SASS program, which strongly suggests that industrial wind turbines should not be constructed in the region,why does the town allow for such turbines in their law?? Sounds kinda contradictory, and maybe confusing to an ART.10 board. The Comprehensive Plan is all about protecting scenery, just like the SASS TIRAP report, but the zoning doesn't prohibit turbines.

Art Pundt said...


The report does indeed say that structures such as wind turbines can NOT be mitigated.

A point I have been making even long prior to the new CV zoning and comp plan formation. It was also a point I submitted in detail to the CV zoning committee when they were drafting the law.

Yet all the towns along the river have tried to mitigate industrial wind with traditional setback zoning when in fact a look at Wolfe Is. clearly shows you can not mitigate these structures. It graphically verifies what the report is saying.

Prohibiting them is actually the best zoning option if you in fact are trying to preserve the scenic quality of this area. Especially since it is so flat with many over water views, that magnifies the turbine visual impact many fold.

I believe I could answer your question because I was deeply involved in the debate against traditional zoning and for a straight forward prohibition of industrial wind development just exactly as the TIRAP at least eludes to. Not only for visual reasons but for political reasons as well.

Myself and a few others took a real hammering for promoting a prohibition stance, yet basically here it is in the TIRAP and SASS discussion.

The traditional zoning paradigm says zoning can mitigate the impacts of huge industrial wind turbines with setbacks. The simple truth is that these structures are so big their impacts spread far far beyond even the jurisdiction where zoning is trying to mitigate them.

Usually traditional zoning uses districts separated by horizontal distances, which works in many cases for smaller structures or uses. 400 to 600 ft. densely placed turbines that spin and have bright flashing lights simply makes the old zoning approach irrelevant because of their overwhelming VERTICAL component.

It's not like zoning a garage or junkyard. Industrial wind turbines are such a radical intrusion on the existing landscape that basically traditional zoning is useless.

Once again I would refer you to Wolfe Is. as proof of what I am saying.

However, this is a widely read blog, and I would REALLY hope someone from CV responsible for drafting the CV wind zoning regulations would answer your question in detail.

Because suddenly your excellent point is now extremely relevant because of the TIRAP and SASS discussion.

I support SASS and the TIRAP, but it does seem to me it is highly contradictory to support the SASS designation, and then have wind laws up and down the river that invite wind developers to have the setback conversation via local wind laws and Art. 10.

But I truly hope some one with knowledge will answer your question.

I will wait with you!

Also keep in mind that the protective scenic protections of our previous old zoning and comp plan had the language to prohibit wind development, and it said nothing directly about wind development at all! You should look at those documents as well and compare them to the new documents. It is very interesting.

As you have pointed out, it is the new zoning, although very restrictive, that raises the discussion about accommodating wind development in CV.

Art Pundt said...


I see no one has responded to your question. I hope someone will, since it is very important if we are going to be honest about the SASS designation.

However, in the mean time let's look at a couple quotes that could relate to the zoning question you have raised.

The first quote is from the TIRAP report that supports SASS.

Keeping in mind this report was done by very reputable professional and experienced consultants in the land planning arena.

“Consequently, massive industrial and infrastructure projects should not be built within the SASS district or within its surrounding viewshed.

There are presently no techniques to mitigate the visual impacts of these structures because they are so tall, massive and frequently in motion."

Industrial turbines would be included as the "structures" they are referring to, that cannot be mitigated.

Then look at this quote from a pro wind promotional document from wind turbine maker General Electric. The GE document is called "A Case For Wind". Among all the promotion for wind there is this strikingly honest sentence.

“There will always be, and should always be, places where wind turbine development is off-limits when aesthetic and other environmental issues cannot be overcome.”

Now taking the two quotes together (one from a very pro wind source, GE) it would make a rock solid case that no wind development should be allowed in the 1000 Islands and Golden Crescent, or E. Lake Ontario basin where the scenic and environmental issues are so sensitive, and tourism is such a high economic priority.

The TIRAP report says you cannot mitigate(overcome) industrial wind structure's visual impacts and basically the GE report says if you cannot overcome (mitigate) the impacts then they don't belong there.

Thank you GE!

So talking about zoning, this is sound advice from very credible land planners, and GE a pro wind turbine maker, that our town officials should have taken to heart and structured our zoning laws to prohibit what cannot be mitigated.