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Farmersville Town Board sets public hearing; wind turbine law setback shifts again

FARMERSVILLE – The Farmersville Town Board finished preliminary work on a new wind turbine law and agreed to set a public hearing Aug. 13.

The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at the Farmersville Fire Hall.

The draft copy of the new law sets guidelines in Farmersville for the proposed $584 million, 108-turbine Alle-Catt Wind farm in Farmersville and Freedom in Cattaraugus County, Rushford and Centerville in Allegany County and Arcade in Wyoming County.

Invenergy, the company proposing the wind farm, is looking for all the towns to pass similar local laws.

After the board last month proposed to reduce the decibel level from 50 to 42 at a residence, the town board went back to the 50 dbl level.

Councilman Richard Zink proposed three distances from the wind turbines:

• 1.5 times the height from the base to the tip if the blade to a property line (about 900 feet). The existing height is 1.2 time the height of the blade.

• 1,800 feet from a turbine to a residence.

• 2,200 feet from a school or a hospital.

Zink said while a majority of the board seemed to be willing to accept the 50 dbl sound level, increasing the setback from homes to 1,800 feet instead of 1,200 feet would have the effect of a lower noise level.

“1,200 feet is way too close,” Zink said.

One resident spoke up saying the town board would be better to consider the distance from the turbine tower to a neighbor’s property line. “You are not protecting my property,” he said.

When Zink proposed the 50 dbl limit for the turbines at a residence, Ginger Schroeder, an attorney representing Farmersville United – a group of about 200 individuals opposed to the wind farm – asked, “Are you kidding?”

Several speakers at a public meeting in May asked for a 3,000-foot setback from the towers to property lines. Invenergy spokesman Eric Miller said at the time that would reduce the number of turbines in Farmersville and the host community and P.I.L.O.T. payments for the town, county and Franklinville Central School District.

“This is going to be a long, ugly legal battle,” Schroeder said Monday.

The current town law sets the distance to a property line at 1.2 times the height and 50 dbl. Zink said he believed a majority of the board favored the 50 dbl maximum sound level. By increasing the distance to a property line from 1,200 feet to 1,800 feet, most people would not hear sound at the 50 dbl level, he explained.