According to Invenergy, the company building a wind farm in the towns of Rushford, Freedom, Farmersville, Arcade, and Centerville, 23 of those turbines are slated to be built in the Town of Farmersville. The project consists of more than 100 turbines spread through the five towns.
A handful of residents in attendance at the Farmersville Town Board meeting on April 16 were unhappy with the plans. The board told residents that there was still much research to be done on the issue and that the board would not be making any concrete decisions until they were more informed. However, Supervisor Rob Karcher did tell residents in attendance that there was nothing the town can do to stop the construction.
In August of 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced the approval of New York’s Clean Energy Standard. According to the mandate, 50 percent of all of New York’s electricity will be required to come from renewable energy sources by 2030. As of April 20 of this year, that deadline has been pushed up to 2025. This mandate has led to a push of more solar and wind energy resources being constructed.
“We can’t stop it,” Karcher stated. “This is New York State doing it; if we try to stop it we will lose funding.”
One resident compared the mandate to blackmail. Various groups in the towns have banded together in an attempt to raise awareness and educate the public on the possible negative effects of having wind turbines in their neighborhoods. Resident Ginger Schroder accused the board of meeting secretly to push the project forward before the public could find out and fight it.
The board denied the accusation and Supervisor Karcher noted that there has only been one meeting between Invenergy and all of the supervisors from all of the affected towns. A number of other residents stated that they did not believe the meetings had been well advertised.
Notices of meetings were posted online, in the town hall, in the post office, and in the Arcade Herald and Franklinville’s Mercury-Gazette. The residents stated that they would like to have a mailing sent to each affected resident to notify them of the meetings. Some residents noted that there were property owners who were not in the area full-time as their properties in the town are seasonal.
“The information flow should be equal from your constituents as well as from the company pushing it,” said resident Kathy Kellogg.
“We are trying to learn as much as we can,” Karcher replied, “the pros and the cons. We still have a lot of studies that have yet to be done and we will get more out before the public hearing.”
Invenergy has given both the town and Farmersville United Concerned Citizens, a group fighting the wind project, intervener funding to help with the cost of obtaining lawyers and conducting research or any other extra cost that would arise during the negotiation process. The town plans to use a portion of its $13,300 to hire an engineer to study the project and its potential influences on the area. Farmersville United Concerned Citizens will receive $30,000 from the intervener funds.
The town has yet to draft a local law regulating wind turbines, and have plans to begin working on drafting the law in the next month. Originally, the board planned to have a work session meeting in which the law would be drafted and then follow-up that meeting with a public information meeting to present the draft of the law to the town. Residents requested that the public information meeting be held first in order to be able to have a time to share their concerns and express what they would like to see covered in the local law before the law was drafted. The board agreed to the request and set the date for the public meeting for the first Monday of May at 6 p.m. With assistance from the county, the town will send out a mailing to all property owners in Farmersville, noting when the meeting will be.
During the meeting, each resident will be given a few minutes to share the information they have and ask any questions of the board. Invenergy representatives will also be present at the May 7 meeting to answer any questions and share project updates.
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