FARMERSVILLE – Early returns show the Farmersville wind law survey running neck and neck among supporters and opponents.
Town Attorney David DiMatteo, who is overseeing the receipt of the survey from the owners of 788 town properties that received them in the mail, said about 50 surveys have been returned so far, with replies running about 50-50.
Some people are circling things and writing why they are voting a certain way, DiMatteo told members of the Town Board.
The survey asks whether the recipient thought setbacks and noise levels should be increased, decreased or remain the same. It also asks if they are opposed to the Alle-Catt Wind Farm project with up to 107 600-foot turbines – yes, no or undecided.
The surveys were mailed out Dec. 10 from DiMatteo’s Warsaw law office and must be returned or postmarked by Dec. 27.
Supervisor Robert Karcher said the Town Board will use the surveys to gauge public opinion on the wind turbine question.
The town is considering increasing the height from tip to ground to 600 feet from the current 450 feet.
Setbacks from turbines to homes are proposed at 1,800 feet. The setback to property lines and roads is 1.5 times the height, or 900 feet.
One town resident, Donna Vickman, the Cattaraugus County Legislature majority leader, said she had not received one addressed to her. The name on the envelope with her address was addressed to someone else.
“I didn’t get one either,” said Kathy Kellogg, a resident and former reporter with the Olean Times Herald.
Town Councilman Richard Zink said the town sent the surveys to the primary landowners and tried to remove duplicates. He said he would check their reports.
“Let’s hope we get a good return,” Vickman said.
Public meetings and especially hearings on the wind law at the Farmersville Fire Hall have been somewhat one-sided with opponents – members of Farmersville United have generally outnumbered wind turbine supporters.
Meanwhile, DiMatteo confirmed the Town Board had completed parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) in its recent submission to the Cattaraugus County Planning Board for review.
Back in August, the county Planning Board rejected the proposed Farmersville wind law because parts 2 and 3 of the EAF had not been completed.
Reminded that the Planning Board had earlier approved the Freedom wind law without parts 2 and 3 of the ASF, Planning Board members directed the Freedom Town Board to rescind its law and resubmit the EAF for review.
As the Freedom Town Board resisted that call, attorneys for opponents to the changes in the local wind law last week filed a lawsuit against the town board’s approval of the law.
The attorneys have advised the Farmersville Town Board it too must complete the EAF for review by the county Planning Board.
Monday night was the first time a Farmersville town official had confirmed that all parts of the EAF had been re-submitted to the county Planning Board.
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