Residents of the Town of Lyme (Jefferson County) who favor wind development scored a victory in New York State Supreme Court on Thursday. Judge Hugh Gilbert invalidated a strict wind ordinance that the Town Council had passed in May 2008 by a 3-2 vote. The zoning ordinance, which detractors say would effectively have killed wind development in the town, was aparently to be implemented after the July 31 expiration of a town moratorium on wind development.
According to reports, a group of local residents known as “Voters for Wind” filed a protest challenging the ordinance under section 265 of the New York Town Law. Under the law, when a written protest is filed, a supermajority vote (75%) is required to pass such an ordinance. Because no supermajority vote occured, the Voters for Wind challenged the decision of the Town Council in an Article 78 proceeding in the state’s Supreme Court (New York’s trial court).
The Town Council had refused to take the written protest into account as some land owners’ signatures were not present and it considered others ineligible. The judge reportedly found that the Council acted arbitrarily and capriciously in rejecting the protest and so invalidated the restrictive ordinance. [This blogger did not have a copy of the decision, Case No. 07-789, at the time of this write up.] The decision is here: Gosier et al. v Town Board of Town of Lyme Index No. 08-1823 (Aug 20 2008).