The fight against wind farms

To the editor: I would like to express a very sincere thank you to the Beekmantown Neighborhood Association for their tireless efforts to protect residents from the encroachment of industry into our community. Although the battle was lost, the war was won and as a result, protection will hopefully be extended to our neighbors in the future. Although portrayed as a very small and selfish group of individuals in the media, the hundreds of concerned citizens who have been exhausting every avenue in the fight against wind farm development in our residential community have been many very good reasons to be concerned. Their time, hard work, and sacrifice are greatly appreciated by those of us who have an understanding of what further devastating effects would befall our community without their efforts. Some media I have encountered seems to suggest that the affected residents were given every opportunity to dissuade this project but just didnt do anything until it was too late, when in fact the complete opposite is true. Discussions with our Zoning Board of Appeals actually consisted of venting sessions in which the board sat stoically unconcerned for the welfare of the residents they are supposed to enforce laws to protect. No questions were answered, no concerns addressed, and it seems whatever incentives the board had for allowing the wind farm into our community were substantial enough to completely disregard the laws written to protect residents from the unlawful use of property within this zone. It seems the board even felt it was necessary to appoint an alternate board member in order to ensure the unanimous vote needed to overrule the decision Clinton County made not to allow this wind farm into a residential location without further impact studies. The Beekmantown Zoning Board of Appeals was somehow motivated to use essential service as their reasoning for allowing an out-of-state, privately owned wind company to move into a residentially zoned community. This designation is reserved for public utilities in order to provide services to the public. If a private company is given basically the same rights as a public utility, the right incentives would provide the company unrestricted access to our community. My family is very grateful for the intelligence, foresight, and determination of the residents who fought to redefine essential service for our zoning board in order to protect our community from further industrial encroachment. As a resident in this community, I expect that a residential zone designation should protect my property from improper use. I find no comfort in the fact that this zoning board failed to do what they had been assembled to do in the first place, which is to enforce the zoning law and preserve our quality of life. Although 13 enormous wind turbines will likely be intolerable in a residential setting, this relatively tiny wind farm will contribute an insignificant amount of assistance with the energy crisis. In fact, the size and scale necessary for any impact at all will eventually turn Northern New York into a giant wind farm if the rights of the residents are continuously disregarded in the manner we have seen with this project. The current use of the incredibly shady tactics as well as manipulation of zoning laws exhibited by these wind companies and zoning boards urgently need to be investigated. Courtney Manor Beekmantown

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