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Farmersville, Coalition of Concerned Citizens ask Siting Board for Alle-Catt rehearing

FARMERSVILLE – Despite an early June setback when the New York State Board on Electric Generation and the Environment granted Alle-Catt Wind Energy LLC a certificate to proceed, a Coalition of Concerned Citizens and the Town of Farmersville have not given up.

The Siting Board approved what would be the largest wind project in the state – 116 turbines up to 600 feet tall spread across 30,000 acres in the towns of Farmersville, Freedom, Centerville, Rushford and Arcade – with conditions.

The 340-megawatt wind farm would include 33 turbines in Freedom, 21 in Farmersville, 36 in Centerville, 13 in Rushford and 13 in Arcade. Landowners would receive $2.7 million a year in lease payments and municipalities would share $3.2 million in payments in lieu of taxes.

Both the Town of Farmersville and the Coalition of Concerned Citizens filed petitions for a rehearing by the Siting Board within the required 30 days, records show.

The petition filed by Zoghlin Group of Rochester on behalf of the Farmersville Town Board stated the Siting Board could not waive the 2020 local law that increased the setback of wind turbines from residences, lowered the noise threshold and lowered the maximum height from 600 feet to 450 feet. Nor did developer Alle-Catt Wind Energy LLC.

The examiners failed to assess the intent of the towns with regard to the local laws. The Siting Board committed an error in not applying the 2020 Farmersville wind law, and exceeded its jurisdiction on an issue in state Supreme Court, the filing stated.

The petition from the Farmersville Town Board questions the Siting Board’s dismissal of Amish residents’ religious claims by the Siting Board. The Town Board recognizes Amish homes as churches because families worship in each others homes. There is a 2,000-foot setback for churches and schools as compared to 1.1 times the tip height for residences the Siting Board recognizes.

On July 20, All-Catt Wind Energy LLC, owned by the Chicago-based Invenergy Crop., filed documents with the Siting Commission opposing the petitions for a rehearing.

Some of the conditions the Siting Board placed on the project include protections for the northern long-eared bat between May 1 and June 30 and July 1 to Sept. 30.

When temperatures are 50 or above during this time and wind speeds are between 5.5 meters per second and 6.9 meters per second, the turbines would have to be shut down from a half hour before sunset to a half hour after sunrise.

Tree clearing would be prohibited between Oct. 1 and March 31 within 150 feet of the northern long-eared bat maternity roosts. There would also be no project components within a quarter-mile of a bald eagle’s nest.

A decision by the Siting Board on the petitions to rehear the issues raised is expected by next month.