LITTLE VALLEY – A lawsuit filed last month by members of Freedom United that could further delay an area wind farm project has itself been delayed a month.
The suit is meant to force the Freedom Town Board to rescind its 2018 wind law and re-submit a completed environmental assessment form to the Cattaraugus County Planning Board for review.
The case was set to be heard on Thursday in Supreme Court in Little Valley. But after Supreme Court Justice Jeremiah J. Moriarty recused himself, it was referred to Allegany County Court Judge Terrence Parker who will hear the case Feb. 21 in Little Valley.
The suit was filed by Stephanie Milks, president of Freedom United, a group opposed to the revisions the town board has made in the town wind law.
Invenergy, the Alle-Catt Wind Farm developer, told town officials in Freedom and Farmersville in Cattaraugus County; Rushford and Centerville in Allegany County and Arcade in Wyoming County they wanted to use turbines measuring 600 feet from tip to base for the Alle-Catt Wind Farm, a 380-megawatt project with 108 turbines.
Most of the municipalities involved had a 450-foot height limit for wind turbines, which required changes in their wind laws.
When Freedom sent their amended local law to the county planning board for review in March 2018, planning board members approved it. Planning board staff did not realize the entire environmental assessment form had not been filled out when approval was recommended.
When the Farmersville wind law came before the planning board in August, it was pointed out that the town’s environmental review did not include parts 2 and 3, the same as Freedom’s review.
Attorney Ginger Schroder of Farmersville told the planning board not only should the Farmersville wind law be returned as incomplete, but the Freedom law should be rescinded by the Freedom Town Board, completed and resubmitted to the county planning board.
Both municipalities had filled out only the first of three parts of the EAF.
The Planning Board agreed with Schroder and sent a letter to the Freedom Town Board urging them to rescind the law and resubmit a completed EAF.
“The town board disregarded the county planning board’s request and provided no further information in support of its negative declaration of the potential adverse impacts,” according to the lawsuit. That prompted Schroder and environmental attorney Gary Abraham of Great Valley, to seek judgement in state Supreme Court on behalf of Freedom United.
Abraham argued in the lawsuit that the town board failed to provide a full statement of its proposed action for review by the county planning board and that the 2007 local law remains in effect.
Invenergy filed an application with the New York State Suiting Board in December for Alle-Catt Wind Farm.
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