Cohocton Wind Watch: Town Board revises wind farm regulations
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Town Board revises wind farm regulations

FARMERSVILLE — The Farmersville Town Board voted Monday to replace its 2007 town law regulating wind farm projects with a shorter and more general version, while also lifting last month’s temporary moratorium against wind energy facilities.

“The old law had stuff that should have been in a host community agreement [between the town and the wind farm developer] and not in the law itself,” said Town Supervisor Joe Brodka.

The town has been approached about the possibility of a 67-turbine wind farm by Noble Environmental Power, which this year started up a new wind farm in the Wyoming County community of Bliss and has applied for a permit in the Town of Centerville in Allegany County.

That project may see a delay because of last week’s ruling by an appeals court that granted a citizen group’s request to nullify Centerville’s wind farm regulatory law because of the town’s inadequate state Environmental Quality Review.

The Centerville law was nearly identical to the 2007 Farmersville law, but Brodka said that the board was not informed about the court’s decision and that the ruling had no bearing on the move to update the Farmersville wind farm law.

The new Wind Energy Conversion Facilities Law requires the Farmersville Town Board to consider the aesthetic, physical, economic and sociopolitical impacts, as well as impacts on general health and welfare, and requires the developer to apply for a license from the town and pay a fee of $300 for each megawatt of generating capacity.

The applicant must also undergo a site plan review, while paying the town’s expenses and completing a state Environmental Quality Review. The developer will also be required to present studies on noise and visual impacts and assess impacts on birds and bats. Height limits of 450 feet are unchanged, but the Town Board may relax a 1,000-foot minimum distance to adjacent residential walls for good cause. Distance of wind tower placement from public roads or nonwind farm structures must be at least 1.2 times the tower height.

There were no statements from residents during a brief public hearing, and the law was adopted in a 4-0 vote.

The board also voted unanimously to accept a 2009 budget that appropriates $241,040 for general fund expenditures and $347,493 for highway costs. Another $4,200 will pay for a light district in Farmersville Station, and $57,938 is earmarked for the Farmersville Fire District.

Spending will increase by 5.8 percent for the general and highway funds, in addition to a 2.2 percent hike in the fire district expenses.

Brodka confirmed that the town tax rate is likely to be lower because of a townwide revaluation. The Cattaraugus County Legislature last week released a tentative tax rate for the town of $12.12, a 29 percent decrease from the amount levied in 2008.

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