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Farmersville Town Board votes 3-2 to appeal Alle-Catt decision

FARMERSVILLE – The Farmersville Town Board voted 3-2 Monday to appeal the New York Siting Commission’s approval of the Alle-Catt Wind Farm application.

The state Siting Board on Electrical Generation Siting and the Environment approved the application of Alle-Catt Wind LLC on June 2.

Last month, the Siting Board denied an appeal of the board’s June decision by Alle-Catt Wind Farm opponents in Farmersville and Freedom.

The Siting Board’s decision opened the door for Alle-Catt Wind LLC to proceed with the 117-turbine Alle-Catt Wind Farm. The turbines would be up to 600 feet high and as little as 1,000 feet away from residents under the guidelines adopted by the Siting Board.

Farmersville Deputy Supervisor Mark Heberling and Town Attorney Eric Firkel said Tuesday the board approved an appeal to the New York State Appellate Court, Fourth Department and to authorize the Zoghlin Group, a Rochester environmental law firm that has previously represented the town on the wind farm issue.

Board members also voted 3-2 to revoke a permit for a meteorological tower and to revoke a 2019 road use agreement the town negotiated with the Chicago-based Invenergy, the parent company of Alle-Catt Wind LLC.

Heberling said the town’s road use agreement with Alle-Catt, which was negotiated by the town board in 2019 when there was a pro-wind majority, “was woefully one-sided.” He said there was not enough money to fix the town roads after use by trucks hauling overweight towers, turbines and blades.

In addition, Firkel said, a 2001 local law prohibits trucks in excess of eight tons from using town roads.

Firkel said it appears that when the town board passed the resolution last year, both the then-town attorney and Alle-Catt officials were unaware of the 2001 local law.

“You can’t overturn a local law with a resolution,” Firkel said, echoing previous challenges by Alle-Catt lawyers.

“It was a mutual mistake,” Firkel said of the 2019 Farmersville town board resolution that in effect overturned the 2001 local law.

Board members voted to appeal the Siting Board’s decision, authorize the law firm to begin work on the appeal and to repeal the resolution agreeing to the road use agreement because the town cannot repeal a local law with a resolution.

Those voting in favor of the resolutions were Supervisor Pete Lounsbury, Heberling and Donna Vickman. Pamela Tilton and Richard Westfall voted against the resolutions.

Heberling said the appeal by Zoghlin Group had to be filed by Oct. 26 with the Appellate Division.