FARMERSVILLE – The Farmersville Town Board will meet in special session at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Town Hall to discuss a wind turbine survey the board plans to send to residents.
Supervisor Robert Karcher said Friday board members will discuss the survey then go over some resolutions at the meeting. The proposed 380 megawatt Alle-Catt Wind Farm would have 24 wind turbines in Farmersville up to 585 feet tall from tip to ground.
Karcher said the town plans to complete and resubmit an environmental assessment form for the proposed town wind turbine law to the Cattaraugus County Planning Board for its review when considering whether to address the wind law.
Farmersville’s wind law was rejected by the county planning board last summer as incomplete. The environmental form was only partially filled out, an attorney for Farmersville residents opposed to the wind farm pointed out.
That sparked the planning board to ask the Town of Freedom to rescind its new wind law, which was approved by the planning board without the same environmental assessment.
Town board members have to review the many letters received since a public hearing on the wind law in October, Karcher said. Large binders with copies of the letters will be given to the town board.
Karcher does not see the town board voting on the wind law before its January meeting at the earliest. He noted earlier projections of when the board would vote on the law have come and gone.
Karcher also said a news article last month on municipal officials in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties with apparent conflicts listed Farmersville Town Board member Richard Zink. Karcher said Zink’s parents who have leases with Invenergy live in Freedom, not Centerville. Karcher said at the time he did not consider that a conflict.
Ginger Schroder, an attorney for Farmersville United, a group generally opposed to the wind turbines without greater setbacks and noise levels, said, “We called for a poll a long time ago. What they are asking doesn’t make sense.”
Schroder said the town board appears to be leaning toward giving the owner of each parcel in the town a vote, not just letting each resident cast one vote.
Residents have made their feelings known during two public hearings, where they “packed the house” at the Farmersville firehall, Schroder said. Few people without wind turbines proposed for their properties or rights of way for underground power lines have voiced support for the project, she said.
“What they should be asking in the survey is what safety measures shall we put in place?” Schroder said.
Greater setbacks wouldn’t increase safety, according to officials at Invenergy, the Alle-Catt Wind Farm developer. It will decrease the number of wind turbines in the town and Farmersville’s revenue, which is estimated at $360,000 between host community fees and payments in lieu of taxes.
Invenergy officials emphasize municipal and landowner payments plus payroll at around $7 million a year across the five towns in three counties.
Besides Farmersville and Freedom in Cattaraugus County, the towns of Centerville and Rushford in Allegany County are included and the town of Arcade in Wyoming County.
Schroder said she was glad to hear Farmersville planned to complete parts 2 and 3 on the environmental assessment form for the county planning board.
The town board won’t be able to complete parts 2 and 3 without concluding that the project is environmentally significant, she said. That will trigger more studies.
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