St. Lawrence County Planning Office

Model Wind Energy Facility Local Law

Staff from the County Planning Office have worked with members of theCounty Planning Board and the Environmental Management Council on an Ad Hoc Wind Farm Model Ordinance Committee (Ad Hoc WiF MOC) since July 2006 to develop a model local law that could be adopted by local governments in the County.

This Model Local Law is intended to regulate the development of wind energy facilities (defined in the model law as "Any Wind Energy Conversion System, Small Wind Energy Conversion System or Wind Measurement Tower, including all related infrastructure, electrical lines and substations, access roads and accessory structures").

A summary of the Committee's efforts may be found here:

St. Lawrence Ad Hoc WiF MOC Report

A copy of the Model Wind Energy Facility Law for St. Lawrence County Municipalities may be downloaded here:

Model Wind Energy Facility Local Law

This Model local law calls for the establishment of Wind Overlay Zones, areas of a community where wind towers would be permitted to be built.  The Committee felt that these Overlay Zones could be created by a community before the community is faced with decisions about a particular wind farm project.  Establishment of a district such as aWind Overlay Zone is a straightforward land-use planning exercise; any community that has established zoning has already created districts (zones) in which particular uses are defined and permitted.  Any communty that has not established zoning will still be able to create a Wind Overlay District; a step-by-step procedure is spelled out in the model local law.  In addition, Planning Office staff are available to help a community get started on this process.

This Model Law regulates the development of large-scale wind towers (Wind Energy Conversion Systems, or WECS), small-scale wind towers (Small WECS), and wind measurement towers.  In each case, special permits will be required; this will necessitate public hearings.  Setbacks are defined; SEQR requirements are established; safety measures are listed; among other regulations.

This Model Local Law is similar to other local laws adopted in Clinton and Jefferson Counties.  This similarity was intentional;  the Ad Hoc committee felt that wind farm developers in the North Country might benefit from relative uniformity of development regulations.

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