The Freedom Town Board voted 3 to 2 in a Monday meeting to adopt a wind turbine law, after a local activist group claimed the meeting would violate state law and threatened to sue if it was held.
The local law, adopted to regulate portion of the 108 turbine Alle-Catt Wind Farm located in Farmersville, would establish a 50 dBA (decibel) noise level measured at a residence. It could be equalled for up to 6 minutes an hour.
The law also sets the height limit at 600 feet, a 1.1 times tip height to the nearest property line and a 1,200 foot buffer from the nearest residence.
Voting against the law were Councilmen John Hill and Jolene M. Esposito-Craft, while Supervisor Randy Lester and Councilmen Ronald Ashworth and Ann Marie Dixon voted in favor.
The town would get a share of $1.9 million in payments in lieu of taxes and $1.1 million in host community payments to the towns of Freedom and Farmersville in Cattaraugus County, Centerville and Rushford in Allegany County and Arcade in Wyoming County.
Costing nearly $600 million, the amount of power generated would light 148,000 New York homes, developer Invenergy states.
Freedom United, a group of Freedom residents opposed to the wind farm, notified town board members prior to the start of Monday’s meeting that it was holding the meeting in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law.
Ginger Schroder, an attorney living in Farmersville who represents Freedom United, said the town had not given the required notice to the public of the time and place of the meeting in accordance with the statute’s mandates.
Stephanie Milks, the president of Freedom United stated Monday, “It is our belief that the Town has held a number of meetings in violation of this law, but tonight we know that they are planning to take action in a proposed wind law. It is our position that if the Town goes forward with the meeting tonight, in violation of the New York State Open Meetings Law and takes action on anything of substance, that action will be subject to legal suit by our organization, which is seeking to hold this Town Board accountable to its citizens to protect their health, safety and welfare.”
Schroder said the group “has authorized our law firm to immediately bring a lawsuit under section 107, against the Town of Freedom, requesting that the Court declare that a violation of the Open Meetings Law has occurred and that the proposed wind law, if it is passed, is void.”
Town Clerk Brenda Schmitt confirmed passage of the local law on a 3-2 vote, but gave no details of the law.
Lester, the supervisor, did not return a call seeking comment on Wednesday.
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