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Farmersville wind opponents hear same old arguments

FARMERSVILLE – To Ginger Schroder, an attorney for Farmersville residents opposed to the Alle-Catt Wind Farm, Thursday’s public hearing was much like the one the town held May 7.

“Everyone said pretty much the same thing” as before, said Schroder, a Farmersville resident who is not charging for her legal services in fighting the project.

A handful of residents “with a financial interest spoke in favor and the other 80 to 90 percent were either opposed or want greater protection.”

Schroder said Invenergy brought in a large number of operating engineers gravel pit employees who don’t live in Farmersville to make it look like there were more people in favor of the wind project. Only one union representative spoke at the hearing.

“This doesn’t tell me this project has widespread community support when they hold two of these hearings and get the same response,” Schroder said. “If people truly are in favor of this project, then why aren’t we seeing it?”

The attorney said Farmersville United just paid $504 to mail out notices of the public hearing to everyone in town. “The town should have done that.” They could ask: “Do you want a 600-foot power plant next to your house?”

Schroder said, “There is nothing on land like this. We are like Guinea pigs. It’s shocking municipal officials act like this.”

Residents are proposing a limit of 40 dBA noise limit from the turbines and a 3,000-foot setback from property lines. The draft wind turbine law the town has drawn up calls for a 50 dBa limit and a setback of 1.5 times the height, or about 900 feet from property lines.

Schroder said the Farmersville Town Board doesn’t have a choice of re-submitting an environmental assessment form on the proposed project to the Cattaraugus County Planning Board.

The town submitted an incomplete form which the county Planning Board could not review. “The law says it must be submitted in full,” the attorney said.

The county Planning Board can do one of three things with a completed environmental assessment form to review: They can approve it, approve it with conditions, or deny it.

Schroder said.

The Freedom Town Board approved a similar wind turbine law after the county Planning Board initially approved its law, then revoked that approval and recommended the town rescind its law.

The reason was because Freedom did not submit a complete environmental assessment form. The Town Board has not yet decided to follow the county Planning Board’s advice, according to the supervisor.