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Hanover board adopts WECS law

HANOVER – Town officials adopted an updated local law regulating wind energy conversion systems for a prospective wind energy project.

At a recent Hanover Town Board meeting, board members adopted the final form of the town WECS law following a public hearing held June 23. Since then, minor revisions were made after considering comments from the public, the Chautauqua County Planning Department, Noble Power, and the town attorney.

“(The changes) were not substantial enough in form and substance to require another public hearing,” Supervisor Katherine Tampio explained. “A lot of the corrections were semantic in nature and made to conform with the law … The one presented at the public hearing was essentially the same with some minor revisions and the incorporation of comments.”

A joint wind energy project between the town of Hanover and Villenova – known as the Ball Hill Windpark project – is currently in the works. The proposed project would be situated at the southern end of Hanover and the northern end of Villenova.

An estimated 67 turbines are expected to be erected, producing 100.5 megawatts, or enough electricity to power 40,000 to 50,000 homes each year. Of the 67 turbines, 11 will be situated on private property within Hanover, in addition to collection lines and a collection station.

The updated law was adopted following a related motion to approve a resolution issuing a negative declaration of environmental significance for the wind energy facility law.

According to town attorney Jeffrey Passafaro, the town satisfied the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). After identifying and reviewing all areas of environmental concern within the town, officials declared the proposed WECS law will not result in a significantly adverse environmental impact.

“The act of the town board in passing the proposed local law is legislative in nature, and no particular project is being considered or approved,” Passafaro concluded. “Any particular project under this local law will have to go through its own process in the local law, including a full SEQR hearing.”

Copies of the WECS law are available at the town hall.

In other business:

n Several residents questioned the town board about past due water/sewer bills owed by the hospital. Mike Hall asked if there is a statute of limitation before which the town must collect money and Carrie Newman asked if the town is charging interest on the money owed. Tampio said the town and hospital have a tolling agreement which waives any legal time limits, and said a settlement must be reached before an agreement regarding interest can be reached.

n Matt Hilmey expressed concerns about the safety along Routes 5 and 20 near the corner of Buffalo Road since motorists keep slowing down to look at a flea market set up next to a pizza stand.

n Tampio was authorized to execute an agreement with the Silver Creek Central School District for the 2008 Swim Program.

n The town board received a request for an additional street light on Alleghany Road in Sunset Bay and decided to investigate the matter further before making a decision.

By Joel Cuthbert

Observer Today

31 July 2008