MAYVILLE – A proposed lease to store materials for the Arkwright wind project drew more outcry and response recently in Mayville.
Two members on the County Legislature’s Audit and Control Committee voted no on the lease between the county and BNSF Logistics, while two voted in the affirmative. Earlier last week, the lease passed through the Public Facilities Committee by a 3-2 vote.
Space located at South Roberts Road in Dunkirk would be leased by the logistics company for approximately four months, if they’re awarded a contract to transport materials to Arkwright. Lease details show rent at $15,000 for the four-month period. BNSF Logistics is one of two companies vying to secure the award.
On the legislative side, the County Legislature is set to consider the lease at Wednesday’s meeting.
Legislators George Borrello, R-Irving, and Charles Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, voted no at the meeting, while legislator Jay Gould, R-Ashville, and Chairman Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, voted yes.
“Here’s my issue … $15,000 a month rent for 10 acres is an awful lot of money,” Borrello said. “I have a problem with this from a philosophical standpoint that they’re willing to spend that much a month to rent brownfield land. If these turbines were not subsidized, they wouldn’t be spending $15,000.”
Before the vote, Arkwright resident Teresa Bretl stood up to urge the committee to vote no on the lease. She says the lease shows support for the industrial wind project in Arkwright, which will see the placement of 36 turbines. Trees are being leveled to make way for the turbines.
“Are we willing to take $60,000 for this project as a form of blood money, which you will forever be tied to? The negative impacts on our natural resources from humans to watersheds to birds to bats are at stake,” she said.
The Department of Public Facilities and George Spanos, director, put together the lease after the company came to them looking for storage space.
Spanos said the lease in no way promotes any project. Moreover, the lease allows use of brownfield land that’s sat vacant for 10 years.
“The county expended a lot of money into bringing it to this point,” Spanos said, adding it could be marketed to be utilized in the future for other projects.
Spanos also said materials will be transported either way to Arkwright if BNSF Logistics gets the award to bring them into Chautauqua County or the other company gets it and ships them from Buffalo.
Gould and Chagnon agreed with Spanos over the money put into the property and the amount of time it’s sat vacant.
“Recognizing the county has no voice in siting of wind turbines, I’m focusing strictly on the opportunity for revenue for the county for a facility that’s sat vacant for so long,” Chagnon said.
Patti Greenstein’s Charlotte residence will be within 1,200 feet of a turbine. She joined Bretl and relayed her disagreement with the wind project and proposed lease to store materials. She also urged legislators to pull county funding from the wind companies building projects in the area.
“I don’t know if I want to stay in New York state with the Arkwright project going,” she said. “This is greatly going to impact our lifestyle.”
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