Farmersville Town Board hears from both sides in wind, water local laws

Jason Schwab of Schwab’s Dairy and Schwab’s Aggregates in Farmersville, speaks at a public hearing the Farmersville Town Board held Monday on a proposed Water Conservation Area Law.

FARMERSVILLE — More than a dozen people spoke Monday at a public hearing the Farmersville Town Board held on a proposed new wind law in the town.

Many speakers praised the more protective wind law proposed by the new anti-wind majority on the Farmersville Town Board, but some questioned the haste at which the board introduced the law.

Some of the major features of the proposed new wind law are a 455-foot height limit, a 3,000-foot setback from property lines, and stricter noise limits than the 2019 local law the Town Board voided last week.

William Snyder, president of Farmersville United, the anti-wind turbine group, endorsed the new law.

Another resident, Kathy Kellogg, said she supported the law even though she favors a moratorium on industrial wind turbines in the town.

Aaron Saykin of HodgsonRuss, which represents Invenergy on the Alle-Catt project, said it was ironic that the new town board majority appeared to be doing many things they accused the old town board of doing. He asked what the hurry was in adopting a new law.

With the town board’s voiding of the 2019 Farmersville Wind Law last week, the 2009 local law with a 450-foot height limit, remains in effect. The last local law took 1 ½ years to bring to a vote and the new board is trying to ram through the new law.

Saykin also alleged a conflict with Town Councilman Mark Heberling, who is married to Ginger Schroder, who represents residents in ongoing challenges to Alle-Catt, a $555 million, proposed 117-turbine project in four towns besides Farmersville.

Schroder, who also spoke at the public hearing, denied any conflict. She represents residents in three towns on the Article 10 proceedings on the proposed wind farm.

The 600-foot turbines proposed by Invenergy “are taller than the HSBC Tower in Buffalo.”

Several speakers thanked the board for proposing the more protective wind law to address shadow flicker, noise, infrasound and property values.

James Cash asked for more time to speak on the proposed local laws — the wind law and a Water Conservation Area Protection law. He was told to reply in writing within 72 hours to add his remarks to the public hearing.

Cash said he suspected there were others who “were blindsided by this who haven’t had time to digest it.”

Town Clerk Bridgett Holmes said she tried to load the 56-page local law on the Internet but was unsuccessful.

Jason Schwab of Schwab’s Dairy and Schwab’s Aggregate was critical of the water conservation law as it could not only impact his gravel mining, but his dairy operation. He employs 47 people.

The company has mined within 1,000 feet of a water well under permit with the state Department of Environmental Conservation without problems, he said. “Please be educated about what you do,” he asked. “We are under a lot of regulations already.”

Supervisor Francis “Pete” Lounsbury said the town board would hold work sessions to discuss any amendments to the proposed local laws.

Schroder suggested agriculture be exempted from provisions of the Water Conservation Area Law.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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