ALLEGANY, N.Y. – Close to eight years of legal battles, community upsets and neighbors bickering with neighbors over a proposed 29-wind-turbine farm project in the town of Allegany came to an end on Tuesday.
The final nail in the coffin of the proposed EverPower Wind LLC farm in the communities of Chipmonk and Knapp Creek was hammered when the Allegany Town Board unanimously voted to rescind the wind overlay district.
“It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad this is over,” said Chipmonk resident Karen Mosman after the meeting. “But I’m in shock, is it real?”
The vote came at the beginning of Tuesday’s regular meeting in the Allegany Senior Center on Birch Run Road. The room was three-quarters full of residents who sat quietly as Allegany Town Supervisor John Hare read through a 25-page State Environmental Quality Review form and zoning map amendment to rescind the wind overlay district. The form listed a number of issues that will not be affected by rescinding the overlay district such as geological features, air, plants and animals, agricultural resources, aesthetic resources, transportation, energy and human health. The board agreed with each of the 13 issues reviewed before voting unanimously on a “negative declaration regarding the removal of the wind overlay district.”
The action brought applause from the audience. The board then voted unanimously on another motion to adopt an ordinance that rescinds the wind overlay district created by the previous town board on Aug. 29, 2011, which brought another round of applause.
When an older member of the audience asked Hare to explain exactly what had transpired the town supervisor replied, “Basically by the two actions we took tonight, this rolls back or eliminates the overlay district created approximately three years ago.”
“Thank you very much,” responded a woman in the audience before everyone got up to leave.
The town board was asked to rule on the matter in June after the town planning board recommended the wind energy overlay district be rescinded. Their recommendation came three months after the New York State Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by EverPower against the planning board. Following the dismissal, EverPower relinquished its rights to build a wind farm in the town of Allegany. The company had planned to build the $160 million wind farm after they were given the go-ahead for the project by the previous town board. The project fell through after three years of legal struggles with the town and Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County.
Residents who included Kathy Boser, president of Concerned Citizens, wanted to see the overlay district rescinded because the planning board had indicated that another developer could potentially step in and use the zoned parcel for a new wind turbine project.
Following the meeting, Boser said she and others in the community were grateful for the actions of the town board and planning board.
“Now that it’s rescinded, any (wind company) could come back in, but they’d have to start over again,” she said. “I think there were some lessons learned from this one and I think the boards will be better prepared.”
Concerned Citizens member Gary Abraham agreed with this thought and claimed, “It’s over for any (proposed) wind farm in Allegany.”
Allegany resident and businessman Dennis Casey said he was “thrilled” with the outcome.
“We’ve had time to anticipate this,” he said in commenting on the relatively quiet response from the audience during the vote.
Others who commented included Karen Mosman’s husband, Ray, who said he hopes the action will help the community heal.
“I think this is done, it’s been a long haul and a heck of a burden off our shoulders,” Ray Mosman said. “But I think now is a time of healing, because this made enemies out of friends.”
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