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Judge upholds Hammond wind law

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State Supreme Court has dismissed the case that pitted five landowners against the town of Hammond over its wind turbine law.

According to court documents, Judge David R. Demarest sided with the town in the case, finding that its Wind Energy Facilities Law is part of a “well-considered and comprehensive plan which serves its residents” and is not arbitrary or capricious. The decision was dated June 26.

In 2011, one month after the 2009 law was amended, landowners Daniel I. and Michele W. McQueer, Steven S. Demick, William F. Hadlock and Crayton L. Buck filed the Article 78 petition, challenging the legality of the law and asking the court to review it. An Article 78 proceeding, named for its location in the state’s Civil Practice Law and Rules, can be used to challenge the official actions of municipalities and agencies.

The landowners and wind energy developer Iberdrola Renewables claimed the law specifically targeted landowners who already had contracts in place to build turbines on their property by creating undue restrictions on where the turbines may be placed.

The town maintained that its law was passed “to ensure that public health, safety and welfare will not be jeopardized” by the building of wind turbines.

Reacting to the ruling, Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram said Friday: “I am glad that judge upheld the process that Hammond did.”

Mr. Bertram estimated that the lawsuit cost town taxpayers $31,000. “We are looking forward to moving on,” he said.

It was unknown whether the landowners would appeal. Mr. Buck declined to comment on the ruling. Mr. Demick, Mr. Hadlock, Mr. and Mrs. McQueer and attorney Scott B. Goldie could not be reached.

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