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Farmersville supervisor said no new wind law likely this year

FARMERSVILLE – The Farmersville Town Board will not pass a wind law this year, Supervisor Robert Karchers said Monday night in reply to a resident’s question.

“There are no plans to do anything,” Karcher told Kathy Kellogg of Farmersville. “Right now we’re under the old law. If anything comes up, we’ll notify you.”

Under the town’s current law, wind turbines are limited in height to 450 feet from the ground to the tip of the blade.

Invenergy, the developer of the proposed 117-turbine Alle-Catt Wind Farm across 30,000 acres in five towns in northern Cattaraugus and Allegany counties and in Wyoming County, has proposed 600-foot industrial turbines for the ridges of the rural area.

Farmersville is in line for $360,000 a year in payments in lieu of taxes and host community fees in return for rewriting their local wind law to meet Invenergy specifications.

The Cattaraugus County Planning Board denied to approve the proposed Farmersville wind law partly because of it impact on the rural nature of the county where tourism is a major industry.

That means the Farmersville Town Board would need a “supermajority” four out of five votes to proceed with the new wind law. One board member, Richard Westfall cannot vote because he has a lease for a wind turbine.

Another resident asked why others board members with family members with wind leases weren’t in violation of the town’s Code of Ethics by not recusing themselves. He referred to the supervisor who has relatives with a lease and Richard Zink, whose parents have a lease in another town.

Town Attorney David DiMatteo said they are not in conflict.

DiMatteo said Farmersville had received $25,000 from Invenergy through the Public Service Commission to use to pay for engineering studies pertaining to the wind farm.

There are a host of issues besides roads, DiMatteo said. Provisions need to be made for Amish horse and buggies during construction. Sound is another issue the town should look at in conjunction with the other towns: Freedom, Centerville, Rushford and Arcade.

Karcher reported briefly on the PSC hearings on the proposed wind farm last week in Arcade and Yorkshire.

“You can still submit comments through Aug. 30,” the supervisor said.

“This board is not going to approve a wind project, the Siting Board is,” DiMatteo said.

DiMatteo raised another energy issue, the town’s moratorium on solar farms. He said the courts have ruled that a municipality needs to be working on a solar farm law during a moratorium.

“The wind law has been keeping us busy,” Karcher replied. He said the board would look at it next month and discuss it further with their attorney.