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Towns to reap wind money

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As part of the payback for hosting St. Lawrence Wind Farm, the towns of Cape Vincent and Lyme will have developer money to plant vegetative screens and improve cultural resources.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation approved a plan for the developer to spend $128,790 in Cape Vincent and $14,310 in Lyme. That money is set aside to mitigate the "adverse impact" to historic and cultural resources because the structures would be part of the scenery.

While the proposed 51 turbines would stand in the northern agricultural district of Cape Vincent, the transmission line would run through both towns to a connection point near Chaumont.

Referring to St. Lawrence Wind Farm, the office said in a May 12 letter: "We do believe that SLW has made a good faith effort to explore all reasonable alternatives."

The letter and other information about the mitigation measures are included in the project's final environmental impact statement. The town Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Cape Vincent Recreation Park, 602 S. James St., where it could approve the statement and release its findings, which is the final step in the state environmental quality review process.

Through discussions with town officials that began with an October 2008 meeting, developer Acciona Wind Energy USA agreed to pay to bury the electric line and transformer at Tibbetts Point Lighthouse, paint the buildings at the lighthouse, restore the clock and tower at Cape Vincent Fire Hall, restore Market Street Cemetery and renovate the community vault at Three Mile Bay Cemetery.

The remainder of money for each town will go toward vegetative screening at qualified historic buildings. According to the proposed mitigation plan from the developer, each town will decide which applications from eligible historic buildings are approved.

Lyme hasn't agreed to the terms yet.

"During this time if the town decides to participate in the mitigation the funds will be released by SLW for the identified projects," the office's letter said. "If the town chooses not to participate then we recommend that those funds be reprogrammed for projects elsewhere."

Because of the standing moratorium on wind development in Lyme, the Town Council will ask a pending committee to investigate the visual mitigation measures. The committee, which also will look into the economics of wind power development, will be formed after the town advertises the positions for those interested.

At the July Town Council meeting in Lyme, the council agreed to pay $6,200 to Timothy J. Mason, Chaumont, to renovate the cemetery vault. The work includes stone repointing and slate roof replacement.

"The repair is complete," Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said. "It had to get done."

From the suggestions the town officials had, it was the only project the state office approved.

"Hopefully, we can get reimbursed," he said.

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