October 6, 2008

Farmersville May Freeze Wind Farm Permits

By Kathy Kellogg

FARMERSVILLE -- The Farmersville Town Board will meet in a special session at 7 p.m. Monday to discuss the possibility of placing a moratorium on permits for wind-energy generating facilities.

Officials also canceled a public hearing Wednesday on a proposal to increase wind project application fees and amended the town's law regulating wind farms.

The board met in a closed-door session Sept. 24 with the town's wind-energy consultant, Donald Swanz, and a representative of Noble Environmental Power, which has met with the board several times to discuss a possible wind farm to connect with a proposed project, Noble Freedom Windpark in the neighboring Town of Freedom.

Noble Environmental Power has secured a number of wind turbine site easements from Farmersville landowners and installed two meteorological data-collection towers. However, a project application has not been submitted.

Acting Supervisor Joe Brodka said Swanz was hired to negotiate with wind farm developers and the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency.

Farmersville officials, along with representatives from Freedom and Machias, objected to sharing wind farm revenues with the IDA when the Cattaraugus County Legislature passed its own law lifting the state's 15-year tax exemptions for alternative energy systems, and opened the door to payments-in-lieu-of-taxes from wind developers.

That law will impact at least four projects expected to seek local permits. Officials say the county could see $600 million or more in wind-energy development over the next five years.

Monday's meeting will be held in Town Hall, 8963 Lake Ave., east of Harwood Lake.

Originally published by CATTARAUGUS CORRESPONDENT.

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