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Allegany wind turbine struggle officially comes to end

ALLEGANY, N.Y. – Years of struggle between the town of Allegany and the EverPower Wind LLC project finally came to an end on Tuesday when town board members approved a settlement agreement with the company.

During a special meeting held at the Allegany Town Hall on West Main Street, Town Supervisor John Hare read the settlement which essentially ended all lawsuits between the town and EverPower.

“We wanted to bring this to a peaceful, well-thought-out end, and we feel like we’ve accomplished that,” Hare said after the meeting that was attended by a relatively small, quiet crowd. A key point in the agreement was the escrow account that had been established for the project would essentially provide the town a total of $104,000, approximately the amount the town spent in its legal struggles with EverPower. For its part of the settlement, EverPower will receive approximately $396,000 from the original $500,000 it had established in the escrow account at the beginning of the project.

“We essentially got everything back we spent fighting the lawsuits with EverPower,” Hare explained.

The proposed $160,000 million, 29-turbine wind project in the Chipmonk and Knapp Creek areas ended in September when the town board unanimously voted to rescind the wind overlay district.

That action came after close to eight years of legal battles with the town and Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County, a community group that opposed the project.

The board’s action in September occurred 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 the wind farm in the town of Allegany.

In outlining the particulars of the agreement, Hare told the audience that lawyers for the town and EverPower had been negotiating the settlement since the beginning of the summer.

“It finally came together last week,” Hare said. “The people on the board have been looking at the settlement documents for a little over a week.”

A partial summary of the settlement, in layman terms, included several of the following agreements.

• Both the town and EverPower will release and settle all claims between the parties whether in the lawsuit or not.

• EverPower will remove its application to the town planning board for a special use permit and site plan for the project.

• EverPower will withdraw its application from the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency for financial assistance for the project.

• The town will submit a letter to KeyBank National Association for the release of escrow funds that were established at the beginning of the project.

• Both parties will sign a stipulation of discontinuation that will be filed with the county clerk.

• EverPower agreed that it, as well as its parent company Terra Firma Capital Partners and any of its affiliates will not seek approval for a wind project in the town of Allegany “through the New York Public Service Law Article 10 process.”

The agreement also stated that within 120 days of execution of the agreement, EverPower will remove all meteorological towers or other information-gathering equipment from the town.

Another key point of the summary stated that if either of the parties fails to carry out any of its obligations in the settlement “the other party can take legal action and reinstate all claims.”