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Legislature hears from residents impacted by wind farms

MAYVILLE – Several residents who are either currently dealing with or soon will be dealing with the effects of wind farms spoke to the Chautauqua County Legislature last week.

Seven people from Arkwright or the Cassadaga area spoke to the legislature about the negative impact the wind turbines are having on their lives. The residents complained about the loud noise the turbines make, which isn’t a light whooshing sound, but more like a jet airplane. People spoke about getting sick and having headaches. Parents spoke about how their children are being impacted more severely than they are being affected. They also said their property values have decreased dramatically. Two people, along with complaining themselves about the wind farms, also read letters from people who are negatively being impacted by the turbines, but weren’t able to attend the meeting.

Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello told the newspaper it is heartbreaking to hear the horror stories from residents experiencing the problems, especially listening to stories about how children are being affected.

“When you are hearing stories about 4-year-old children having issues, you know they’re not making it up. (The wind farms) are having a real impact,” he said.

Borrello, who has been an outspoken opponent of wind farms, said Chautauqua County is an experiment for the businesses constructing the wind farms. He said the turbines are closer to homes and taller than in other areas.

“At the Ball Hill project, there is going to be a 600-foot-tall tower. There has never been a tower built that tall on land anywhere in the U.S,” he said. “We don’t know the impact because it has never happened before. Us being used as guinea pigs is wrong. I hope we don’t see anymore. I will do what I can to prevent the construction of anymore wind turbines. They’re bad for health, bad for the economy and a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Borrello said county officials and residents have exhausted every avenue to stop any of the wind projects that have been approved. He said a significant step was taken to prevent future wind turbine projects when the legislature in March passed a resolution preventing the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency to provide Payment In Lieu O Taxes agreements to any wind farm project over 5 megawatts.

However, he said the state can override the county through the Article 10 process.

The three wind projects that have been approved include Arkwright Summit Wind Farm, the Ball Hill and the Cassadaga Wind LLC.

The wind towers constructed in the town of Arkwright were turned on for the first time earlier this month. The Arkwright Summit Wind Farm turbines are all located in Arkwright and connected to the grid in the town of Pomfret. The wind farm consists of four Vestas 110V 2-MW wind turbines and 32 Vestas 110V 2.2-MW wind turbines.

The proposed Ball Hill wind project is being done by wind company Renewable Energy System. The 100-megawatt wind farm is being proposed in the towns of Villenova and Hanover. The Ball Hill Wind Energy project is a 100V wind farm with 23 turbines permitted for operation in Villenova and six in Hanover.

In August, the town of Villenova approved an amendment for the wind turbines to go from 495 feet to 599 feet in maximum height, taller than any land-based turbines in the country. However, in August the town of Hanover didn’t approve the height amendment, which means the wind turbines in the town will have a maximum height of 495 feet.

The Cassadaga Wind LLC project is being proposed to be located in Cherry Creek, Charlotte and Stockton. The project is 126-MW wind farm and is a $220 million capital project. Spanning approximately 40,000 acres of mostly farmland and recreational land, the wind facility is expected to have up to 48 wind turbines.