May 24, 2011
New York, Opinions

How is town of Allegany protecting the interests of its residents?

By Alan Henderson, Olean Times Herald, 24 May 2011

The Allegany Town Board, on May 5, 2000, adopted Zoning Ordinance II and it has subsequently been revised several times. I would now like to bring your attention to what it states under GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 1.01, Introduction:

“All municipalities in Cattaraugus County, whether cities, villages or towns, are empowered by New York State law to enact Zoning Laws and other land use regulations. Counties are not empowered to zone, thus giving the local governments the final legal responsibility for controlling problems of conflicting land use, protecting property values and ensuring an efficient pattern of development.”

Under Section 1.06, Intent and Purpose:

“(A) Intent. The intent of the Town of Allegany , in its adoption of this Ordinance II, is to promote and protect, to the fullest extent permissible under the Town Ordinance II, the environment of the town and the public health, safety, and general welfare of the people, all in accordance with a comprehensive planning process and related standards and public policies, etc.”

I would now like to know exactly how the town plans to protect our property values and well-being as set forth in the Zoning Ordinance II in the face of the wind turbine project. This is not only the town’s stated LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY; it also, I believe, becomes its moral and ethical responsibility to its citizens.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement reports that all the issues regarding wind turbines are addressed, but it does not state how affected residents with adverse problems will specifically be compensated or made whole again after having their lives and lifestyle forever ruined. Most answers are very vague. The stark truth is that officials don’t want to answer these questions for fear that it would be brought up in litigations when problems occur.

After these turbines go up the game changes and we’ll be left in a lurch. There will be no going back.

We have been told by residents of other communities with wind turbines how promises before hand were never kept and ended by turning into nightmares after. They were abandoned by their town board and told it was out of their hands and that they needed to take any complaints up with the turbine company. Their complaints now get the proverbial run-around or go unanswered. This is exactly what I fear will happen here as this is exactly what has happened to Cohocton residents affected by wind turbine noise.

Shouldn’t this immediately raise a red flag?

I would like to give a country analogy that came to me a few days ago while hiking with my dog, Buddy.

Buddy flushed a cottontail rabbit and as hard as he tried to track it, the rabbit eluded him. The Town of Allegany is like that rabbit, both have their set boundaries and both know all their pathways (roads) and secure living areas (houses). The rabbit is quite adept at survival by it’s inherent instinctive abilities. The town survives because its laws are for the protection to all of its residents so they can live and thrive with a feeling of well-being.

However, along comes an interloper to the rabbit’s area, a trapper, (wind turbine company). A trap is set (site application) and the bait is applied (P.I.L.O.T. money). Time passes and the rabbit finds the very tempting morsel and decides that this is a quick meal and will make his job of survival easier, and then takes the bait. Snap! The trap is sprung and the rabbit has been caught by his leg, now unable to escape, his only option is to gnaw his leg off (Chipmonk).

He sacrifices his leg, and he escapes only to find that it is now harder to exist because a vital part of his well being is now dead, all because of what he perceived as a quick meal. Still, having to survive, he forages with only three legs, but it keeps getting harder, then low and behold another tasty treat comes along. Driven by hunger he greedily grabs the bait again and snap, finds himself caught by a leg in another trap (another wind farm company). Again, his only option is to sacrifice this leg by gnawing it off. Finally the rabbit realizes it can no longer exist because he has lost the most important parts that made him an elusive animal that once thrived and multiplied.

The Town Board will find that it will be unable to protect us and our properties as required by law. It will not be able to meet its legal responsibilities to the affected citizens and therefore should vote no on this very important issue.

(Mr. Henderson lives in Allegany.)

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