FARMERSVILLE – The Farmersville Town Board reviewed an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) on a new proposed wind law Monday.
Prepared by Supervisor Francis “Pete” Lounsbury, the Town Board reviewed each answer on the repeal of the 2019 wind law and introduction earlier this month of a more restrictive and protective law.
It is the first step in the environmental review of the proposed wind law, which now goes before the Cattaraugus County Planning Board for review and recommendation.
Some residents still have questions about the law, said Town Clerk Bridget Holmes. There are questions about the speed at which the local law seems to be progressing.
The local law was introduced at an emergency meeting Jan. 6, and a public hearing was held a week later.
It calls for a 3,000-foot setback of turbines from property lines instead of 1,200 feet, a 455-foot height tip limit instead of 600 feet and a lower noise level than the wind law passed last year by the pro-wind Town Board.
Another provision includes a requirement that a developer address any loss of property value to property owners within two miles of a wind turbine.
After the November election, the 3-2 anti-wind majority voided the 2019 town law on the same day Famersville United filed suit demanding it be overturned.
Lounsbury said the proposed Wind Facilities Law would avoid the negative impacts of the previous law.
“Is this a precursor to a wind law?” asked Councilman Richard Westfall.
The EAF is not addressing any particular project, but whether the proposed law will have an impact on the environment, Lounsbury said.
“It’s not new” said Deputy Supervisor Mark Heberling. “We’ve been going through this for two years.”
A Buffalo environmental attorney, Alicia Rood, who is serving as a special counsel to Town Attorney Eric Firkel, attended the meeting to answer questions.
A question was also raised about the impact on an agricultural district the local law. Rood said she would look into that.
Lounsbury said a second local law introduced Jan. 6 to protect local water resources, will not be acted on further by the Town Board due to a number of issues brought out at the public hearing last week.
An attorney for HodgsonRuss, which represents Invenergy in the proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm, asked why the proposed local law was pulled?
“We listened to what the residents had to say,” replied Councilman Donna Vickman, who noted water was the deciding factor in the proposed landfill that divided the town years ago. “We decided it isn’t the right law to pass.”
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