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Catlin board to vote on wind farm law  

Credit:  Jeff Murray | Star-Gazette | October 8, 2014 | www.stargazette.com ~~

Facing vocal opposition from residents, the Catlin Town Board is scheduled to vote Thursday night on a local law that would allow a clean-energy company to erect at least 30 wind turbines in the town.

Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources wants to build a wind farm in the Town of Catlin and already has 30 leases signed, town officials said.

At this time, NextEra is not divulging the locations of parcels where leases were signed.

The town held two public informational meetings on the local law, and residents raised a variety of concerns about economic and quality-of-life issues.

“Essentially, our objections are loss of property value,” said Catlin resident Jean-Marc Torres. “Who wants to live next to a monstrous tower and constant noise, flicker effect, destruction of wildlife, very limited jobs for the region due to the expertise required, destruction of beautiful scenery and especially health?”

Catlin Town Supervisor LaVerne Phelps hasn’t taken a public stand on the wind turbine proposal, but he said he wants the board to make an informed vote.

“The biggest thing that came out of the meetings was folks didn’t want to hear them and look at them. They were highly concerned about a drop in property values,” Phelps said. “As a landowner, the only view you can control is to the end of your property line. After that, the view belongs to someone else. That’s not a very popular statement.”

Under a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement with NextEra, 70 percent of the payments would go to the Corning-Painted Post School District, Chemung County would get 23 percent, and the town would get 7 percent.

That breakdown is based on the percentages each entity would get if the company was paying straight property taxes to each, said George Miner, president of Southern Tier Economic Growth.

The town also would get $2,500 per megawatt of power generated by the turbines, Phelps said.

Finances aside, residents had other concerns.

“The big issue is people have not been informed very well at all,” resident Jerry Montanye said. “I would have never known about this if not for a sign in front of the town hall about a wind farm meeting. That’s the first time I ever heard anything about it.”

Joseph Calderone, who is mounting a write-in campaign for town supervisor, said, “The wind turbine law doesn’t meet the smell test economically, scientifically, politically and, most importantly, personally. Of the two town halls (meetings) I have attended, not one person has walked up to the microphone and extolled the virtues of wind, the law or the town’s plans for the community.”

Follow Jeff Murray on Twitter @SGJeffMurray.

If you go

• The Catlin Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Catlin Town Hall, 1448 Chambers Road in Beaver Dams. The proposed local law on wind farms is available for inspection at townofcatlin.com.

Source:  Jeff Murray | Star-Gazette | October 8, 2014 | www.stargazette.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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