FARMERSVILLE – Supervisor Robert Karcher said the Farmersville Town Board has a lot of testimony and other material to review after Thursday night’s public hearing on a proposed new wind turbine law.
“We’ve heard both sides,” Karcher said in a telephone interview Saturday. “I wish I had a fact-checker. I hear different stories. Who do you believe?”
Karcher said the Town Board appreciated those attending the public hearing were respectful of speakers – opponents and supporters of the wind farm.
Invenergy, a Chicago-based alternative energy company has proposed building and operating the 380 megawatt Alle-Catt Wind Farm, a 120-turbine system located in five towns in three counties. The company points to the $7 million that will come into the region each year from the wind farm as an incentive.
Farmersville would have 23 turbines and the town would receive $360,000 a year in host community and P.I.L.O.T. fees.
The town’s new attorney for the wind law, David Matteo of Warsaw, helped to keep the public hearing moving with no exceptions to the three minutes given to each speaker. He has experience representing municipalities with wind turbines, Karcher said.
“We are going to go over every one of the exhibits,” Karcher promised. “We have to go over everything.” The board may have a work session on the wind law before its next regular meeting Nov. 19, he said.
Most of those who were opposed to the 600-foot wind turbines asked for a 3,000-foot setback and a 40 dBA noise limit. Supporters noted that would reduce the number of wind turbines and the revenues from the wind farm.
A budget work session is set for Oct. 29, but the wind turbine law will not be discussed at that time, Karcher said.
The board may not be ready to vote on the wind law in November if there are still unanswered questions, Karcher said. The vote may roll over into December. “If we’re not ready to vote on the law, we won’t, he said.
About nine speakers presented exhibits and letters from other town residents Thursday. The town also had a stenographer to record the meeting that ran just over two hours.
Both sides wore green T-shirts, so you couldn’t tell which side people were on until you got close enough to read the writing on their shirts.
Karcher said the word he and Town Clerk Bridget Holmes heard from other towns around the state with wind farms was 90 percent positive.
Asked whether the town plans to complete the environmental assessment form and re-submit its wind law to the Cattaraugus County Planning Board, Karcher said he wasn’t sure, but that Town Board members were “leaning that way.”
Karcher said the town received a letter from the county Planning Board that it could not review its new law without the other parts of the environmental assessment form being completed. “I was told the law was filled out right. The SEQRA was filled out correctly for what we have to do,” he added.
“We can go without the county, but we might need four votes,” Karcher said. “We may need another work session. We need to get copies of the remarks from the stenographer and talk to our lawyer.
“We’re not going to rush anything,” Karcher said. We want to make sure we do it and do it right. It’s a big responsibility.”
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