FARMERSVILLE — The Farmersville Town Board will meet in special session Monday to conduct a work session on the environmental assessment form (EAF) for the new proposed Wind Law.
The board will meet in public session at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, said Supervisor Francis “Pete” Lounsbury. The special meeting will focus on filling out the EAF for the wind law with Town Attorney Eric Firkel, he said.
“The new wind law was very thoroughly studied,” Lounsbury said. No changes are currently planned in the wind law as presented at an emergency meeting Jan. 6. The town board voided a hastily-passed 2019 wind law at the same meeting.
A public hearing was held Jan. 12, where supporters and opponents of the more protective and restrictive wind law spoke to board members.
The new law reduces the height limit from 600 feet in the 2018 wind law to 455 feet, calls for 3,000-foot setbacks from property lines and reduced noise levels. The proposed law also calls for property value guarantees by the developer for properties up to two miles from turbines.
Lounsbury said he hopes the board can complete the EAF and submit it to the Cattaraugus County Planning Board for review along with the local law later this month.
“We won’t be voting on it until they (Planning Board) approve it or make recommendations,” Lounsbury said.
Both the Farmersville and Freedom town boards voted Jan. 6 to void the town’s previous wind laws. The Freedom law had previously been overturned by a state Supreme Court judge, but had been appealed by Supervisor Randy Lester.
Voiding the laws leaves earlier wind laws in effect that had a 450-foot height limit.
Invenergy, the developer of Alle-Catt, a 117-turbine, 340-megawatt project spread over five towns, has said it wants to continue to work with the towns.
The company touts the host community agreements, payments in lieu of taxes, construction jobs and lease payments totaling up to $9 million a year. The project’s estimated cost is $555 million.
The supervisor said the town board is seeking additional citizen involvement to review the proposed local law on a Drinking Water Conservation Area that was also introduced Jan. 6 and the subject of a public hearing the following week.
“We heard the concerns,” Lounsbury said. The board wants input on specific amendments that could improve the local law and address concerns from farmers and a gravel business.
Lounsbury said the location of much of the town over a sole source aquifer that straddles Cattaraugus Creek is threatened by the Alle-Catt Wind Farm, which will require blasting and pile driving to install foundations for the turbines. Miles of access roads and underground cable could also disturb groundwater.
Lounsbury offered no timetable for additional work on the water law.
Town officials are expected to invite several businesses that could be impacted to discuss their concerns on the local law before offering any amendments.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)