Cohocton Wind Watch: Arkwright Board Tables Request From Horizon
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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Friday, September 11, 2009

Arkwright Board Tables Request From Horizon

ARKWRIGHT - The Arkwright Town Board spoke with one voice when it unanimously voted to table a Horizon Wind Energy waiver request.

The request involved granting an easement on property Horizon has an option to purchase on Meadows Road that abuts the county owned Earl Cardot Overland Hiking Trail.

Tom Stebbins, Horizon project manager, said he had met with the Chautauqua County Parks Department in November about a situation that arose with the location of a wind turbine on the Meadows Road property.

Stebbins said this involved a 30-foot difference in the town's local wind law requirement for a 1,200-foot setback.

"We want to place the turbine at a 1,170 foot setback and the Parks Department had no problem with that. They consented to the waiver we are asking for," he told the Town Board.

Stebbins also said Fred Bretl, Arkwright Zoning Board of Appeals chairman,told him the waiver is ''the way to go" rather than follow the Zoning Board of Appeal process.

"This way, the waiver request can be considered by the Town Board which has the authority to grant it," Stebbins said.

Councilman Larry Ball said he wasn't sure Arkwright residents wanted the board to say yes right away to the waiver.

"We don't want to appear to be in Horizon's pocket; we have to determine if this waiver is in the town's best interest," Ball said. "I think we should hold off at least one more month before making a decision. We fought long and hard to establish this (wind) ordinance. I don't think the board should willy nilly hand off a waiver."

After a series of questions asked by board members Roger Cardot, Jeff Dietrich, Ball and Linda Fairbanks, the board members unanimously decided to table the waiver request and refer it to the town's wind energy council, Daniel Spitzer, and engineer Robert Adams for review and possible recommendations.

In response to the comments made by the board, Stebbins said he thinks it boils down to a matter of trust. He said he believed it was in the best interest of the town and the Arkwright wind farm lease holders to OK the waiver.

"The wind tower we are seeking the waiver for is one of 43 that are planned for the Arkwright wind farm and according to data we've collected it will be the second highest producing one,'' Stebbins said. ''This means the revenues it generates will increase the amount shared by the town and the leaseholders.''

Fairbanks said she felt Horizon's advantage in this involved having access to the property when it wasn't available to anyone who may have been interested in it.

"If we approve this waiver, will Horizon drop another site and affect the property owner this move will involve?" she asked.

She went on to say Horizon had the advantage of knowing the property, currently owned by the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, was available for sale.

"I believe if this were known to the public, there would have been others who would be interested in purchasing it," she said.

Horizon is dealing with the Buffalo Diocese, which owns the property once used as a camp and retreat.

Fred Norton, town supervisor, said he thinks Horizon has four options: continue to seek a waiver; apply for a variance; ask the county to move the hiking trail or drop the request.

After the meeting, Dietrich said he was pleased with his fellow board members reaction to this request.

"I have been working all along to protect the residents of Arkwright with regard to this wind farm project and I was glad to see the board's decision Monday," he said.

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