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Updates

 

Advocates for Prattsburgh Plea

Dear Folks,

This message is long, so you might want to print it out and read it at your leisure, especially the quotes from the Resolution and the Easement (see References below).

The town of Prattsburgh has authorized the commencement of condemnation proceedings against eight landowners who have refused to sign easements for the Windfarm Prattsburgh project (see references below for quote from the resolution). Advocates for Prattsburgh has consulted lawyers to determine whether litigation is practical. We are told that if the condemnation is appealed the town would have to prove public purpose – something we believe has never really been done. Keep in mind that the Company is private and Prattsburgh will not get free electricity. Using these lawyers would cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000.

This mailing is going out all over the state as well as to Prattsburgh landowners and residents because eminent domain and public benefit is an issue that affects all of us, especially those of us involved in the fight for proper regulation of wind projects. We need to know how much support there would be for litigation and would appreciate your taking the time to let us know the following:

  1. This question mostly pertains to those who own land in Prattsburgh and Italy, but anyone is welcome: Do you wish to be (or continue to be) a member of Advocates for Prattsburgh? If yes, Please provide your name address and phone number. If you own land in Prattsburgh, could you indicate the address of the land?
  2. Do you support litigation to fight the condemnation?
  3. How much money would you be willing to pledge to support the fight?
  4. What can you do to help? Fund raise? Write letters? Attend meetings?
  5. Is there a lawyer among you who would work pro bono?

Please think carefully about this because we will be basing our strategy on the kind of support that we have. We believe that this eminent domain proceeding not only works against the people of Prattsburgh but against the people of New York.

References:

A. From the Resolution of April 21, 2008 at special meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Prattsburgh - Adopted by a vote of 3-2:

Resolved that the Town Board authorizes the commencement of condemnation proceedings under the EDPL against the landowners... identified in Exhibit A to this resolution for the purpose of obtaining the remaining easements necessary for the Company to construct, install, operate, maintain, repair and replace conduit and electrical lines within the rights of way along, within and across the following roads within the Town of Prattsburgh: Rosey Hill Road, Gay Road, Cook School Road, Davis Road, Fisher Road, Dillenbeck Road, Block School Road, Matoon Road.

In addition the Board shall also authorize the commencement of condemnation proceedings against any other [unnamed] property along the aforementioned roads for the purposes of obtaining the remaining easements necessary for the Company to construct, install, operate, maintain, repair and replace conduit and electrical lines within the rights of way if the Company can show to the Town Supervisor’s satisfaction that best efforts have failed to obtain an agreement with such additional landowners.

B. We have been given a copy of the underground line easement that people are being asked to sign, which says in part:

That the grantor...does hereby grant...the exclusive and permanent right of way and easement to build, rebuild, relocate, operate, repair, maintain, renew and at their pleasure remove underground transmission lines for purposes of transmitting electricity, communication systems, including cables conduit, wires, pedestals, closures, handholes, transformers, pipe and pipelines and other such appurtenant or supporting apparatus, structures or markers as the Company, or such successors or assignees, may now or shall from time to time hereafter deem necessary for the transmission and distribution of electricity and the rendition of communication service upon, under, through and across strips of lands twenty five (25) feet in width from the border of the Grantor’s property and continuing along the public right of way within certain property owned in fee by the Grantor located in tax map...

Grantee may freely assign, mortgage, encumber, sublease, license or otherwise convey all or any portion of its interests under this Easement Agreement…without obtaining the consent of Grantor.

Grantor also conveys to the Company the right of way and easement for the passage of persons, vehicles and machines as shall be deemed necessary for construction, installation, maintenance and removal of the Company’s facilities and as a covenant running with the land hereby... and releases the Company from any and all claims of damages to the property or lands within the bounds of said easement strip.

Sincerely,
Nancy Wahlstrom
Advocates for Prattsburgh

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