May 6, 2006

A legal perspective on windmills

Last week, I published Town Attorney Mahlon Perkins' opinion on windmills. It turns out that the attorney for the Zoning Board of Appeals, Randy Marcus, also wrote a letter to the Town Board on the subject (110KB PDF, 156KB selectable).

Marcus' opinion, unlike Perkins', is a legal opinion. Marcus doesn't question whether or not windmills are a good thing - he looks at the current state of Dryden zoning law and tells the town that they should act to avoid legal challenges:

I could imagine a situation in which a residential property owner attempts to install a wind turbine and catagorize it as an accessory structure to their home (rather than as a public utility, as last week’s applicant proposed). In this situation, I believe the property owner would have a strong argument in support of being treated comparably to a property owner seeking to install a garage or a shed.

If the Town adopted an ordinance that specificalIy permitted and regulated structures such as wind turbines, the Town would have a much better opportunity to control the development of such stmctures; and limit their locations, size, and other features. Therefore, I believe it to be in the Town’s best interest to act on adoption of legislation of this sort in the earliest possible time frame. By doing so, the Town may avoid challenges, and possibly successful challenges, at considerable expense to the Town, by applicants interested in developing wind turbines to serve their individual residences.

It's good to see someone providing the Town with clear legal advice on a potentially difficult area.

Posted by simon at May 6, 2006 4:07 PM in ,
Note on photos