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Appeal of decision to overturn Freedom Wind Law is denied

ROCHESTER – The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal of a court decision in December to overturn the 2018 Freedom Wind Law.

The Appellate Division’s Fourth Department, also denied a motion by Alle-Catt Wind Energy LLC, developer of the proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm, for intervenor status in the case.

The justices dismissed the motions challenging the decision by State Supreme Court Judge Terrence Parker in Cattaraugus County to overturn the local law which was enacted unlawfully.

The decision on the appeal came a week after the current Freedom Town Board voted 3-2 to void the 2018 local law enacted by the previous Town Board and introduced a new, more protective wind law with lower height limits and wider setbacks.

Stephanie Milks, the president of Freedom United, which brought the lawsuit against the Town Board, said Monday night she was relieved to hear the Appellate Division dismissed the appeal of Judge Parker’s decision.

“Once again, justice is served in Freedom,” Milks told the Olean Times Herald in an interview. “To have the Appellate Division recognize the illegal practices of the old board is an absolute relief.”

Milks noted that the Freedom Town Board never voted to appeal Parker’s decision. “That was all Randy (Lester, the supervisor).

The dismissal of the appeal leaves the town of Freedon’s 2007 local wind law in effect. It has a 450-foot height limit on wind turbines.

Alle-Catt , a $555 million, 340-megawatt wind farm had proposed 600-foot wind turbines at up to 117 sites in Freedom, Farmersville, Rushford, Centerville and Arcade.

Now, new majorities on the Freedom and Farmersville town boards have introduced new wind laws that are more protective for residents.