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Lease for wind turbine storage facility debated

MAYVILLE – A resolution placed before the County Legislature’s Public Facilities Committee was simple in its request.

The dispute over the resolution, however, drew two county legislators to say no during a Tuesday meeting.

The resolution authorized the lease of vacant space to a logistics company that’s looking to receive a contract award to store wind turbine materials as part of the Arkwright Summit Wind Farm project. After a brief discussion, the resolution passed via a 3-2 vote.

George Spanos, county public facilities director, said BNSF Logistics approached the county looking to lease the property located on South Roberts Road in Dunkirk. Spanos said the company wants to lease the county-owned property temporarily due to its close proximity to the railroad.

Spanos told legislators there are two companies vying for the award, with one being BNSF Logistics. If the company is granted the award, materials would be stored at the vacant industrial site and eventually shipped to Arkwright. The lease between the county and the company would go for approximately four months at $15,000 per month.

“The decision has not been made on who’s going to be awarded transportation,” Spanos said, adding BNSF is the only company of the two that selected a storage location in the area.

After legislators received explanation, Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, said he would be voting against the resolution as he’s not in favor of windmills in Chautauqua County.

“Anything that I’d vote on that would promote the process of windmills going up would not be the right thing for me to do,” he said.

Charles Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, followed by saying he too would be voting no. Nazzaro said the legislature heard a lot from the public over the last few months regarding windmills.

“I asked our county attorney do we have any control of (windmill projects) and the answer is basically no because this is up to property owners and towns,” he said. “I just feel I’m not for those windmills being place there. I think the property owners profit off these greatly and there’s detriment. This is some small part I can voice my opposition to those concerns by voting no.”

In response, Spanos said the materials will either be unloaded in Chautauqua County or somewhere else en route to Arkwright. Nazzaro shot back by saying “I’m not going to make it easy for them.”

In other matters, an environmental easement at the former C & B Dry Cleaners in Jamestown received county legislators’ approval. Committee members authorized conveyance and placement of the easement to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as part of a restoration project at the site, located at 2241 Washington St. in the city.

Based on investigations, the primary contaminants of concern at the site were chlorinated volatile organic compounds including tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichlorethylene (TCE) and arsenic.

Kurt Gustafson, attorney with the Chautauqua County Law Department, told legislators the former dry cleaners is an old Brownfield property that received cleanup help from the DEC. From 1931 to 1999, the site was used as a commercial dry cleaner. The county obtained property through tax foreclosure in 2001.

“We’re kind of at the end stages here where we knew ahead of time they were going to require us to enter into an environmental easement,” he said, adding it will allow the DEC to conduct further monitoring and testing.

Both resolutions will go before the full County Legislature at next week’s meeting.