Prattsburgh, NY – A court hearing has been set for Jan. 27 to learn more details about the events behind a year-long lawsuit between the town of Prattsburgh and a wind farm developer.
The hearing will resolve some issues and lead to a final decision in the dispute between the town and the developer, Ecogen, according to state Supreme Court Justice John Ark.
Ark wants sworn testimony from former town officials, including Attorney John Leyden and Supervisor Harold McConnell, Ecogen representatives and other town officials.
Questions appear to pinpoint Ecogen’s contention that it has been ready to set up 16 turbines for more than two years and questions Ecogen’s claim it had “vested rights” by late 2008.
Ecogen also claims board members have stymied the builder’s efforts to proceed with the project.
“Which is funny, when they’re on record telling the Town of Italy, Prattsburgh has been very cooperative throughout,” said Prattsburgh’s attorney Ed Hourihan.
Hourihan said the town is pleased to see the judge has narrowed the issues to “specifically pin down Ecogen’s ever changing position. Since this litigation has started, Ecogen had changed its position so many times its hard to tell what is the truth.”
Hourihan said he will question the witnesses and can present evidence proving any testimony is incorrect.
Last fall Ark said he was close to a decision in the case, but urged Ecogen and the town to meet and find an out-of-court compromise.
Town officials offered to provide other sites for the proposed turbines, but Ecogen maintained the December 2009 agreement was binding and refused to compromise.
An offer to meet with Prattsburgh by Ecogen’s parent company, Pattern, apparently fell through last month, current town Supervisor Al Wordingham said.
Wordingham said he called Pattern representative John Galloway just before Christmas to follow up on several phone conferences and a plan to meet.
“He told me he had some internal issues to resolve,” Wordingham said.
Galloway has not returned his final call, Wordingham told residents at the town board meeting Monday night.
“And we still don’t have their final site map,” Wordingham said.
In related action, the board held a public hearing on extending their moratorium on tower construction another six months. Several residents said they supported the moratorium, although they thought six months was too long.
The board will vote on the moratorium during their regular Feb. 22 meeting.
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