Wind Farm Company Looks To Alter Cherry Creek’s Zoning Regulations

Bill Spencer, project manager of the Cassadaga Wind Farm, approached the Chautauqua County Planning Board to inquire about the next steps to approving amendments to the town of Cherry Creek’s zoning laws. Spencer would like the zoning laws to make it so that the Cassadaga Wind Farm can have 500-foot turbines, rather than the currently allowed maximum 420-foot height.

“Right now we’re in the Article 10 process through the state for certification. We have asked the town of Cherry Creek to amend their zoning law to have a consistent height for all of our turbines to match Arkwright and Charlotte,” Spencer explained. “We’ve also asked for a little extension on the work hours to kind of match what’s going on in the other towns. They have been in favor of this and they are receptive to our requests, so from my understanding, the next step is to have the planning board review the paperwork and make a decision or recommendation.”

Pat Gooch, senior planner and Chautauqua County Planning Board liaison, stated that while they’d love to go forward with the process on this, the board, unfortunately, did not receive the required paperwork yet to be able to officially go forward with anything at the July meeting.

“We have received partial referral to the change in the town law. It’s not done for you because we don’t have all of the materials yet,” Gooch said. “We hope to have it for you for the next meeting; however, it’s a matter of if it rises to the level that we actually need to vote on it, or is it just a local concern?”

Spencer did also clarify that the extension of work hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. was to be able to take advantage of daylight hours, and keep those consistent with the other wind farm projects as well.

Planning Board Member Rick Ketcham stated that if they wanted to go through with increasing the height of the future turbines, he’d like to see a note from the Cassadaga Village Board — and anyone else who should have input — stating that they’re in support of the change.

“I agree with everything that was asked. Personally, I would be supportive, but I’d like to just ask if the Cassadaga mayor and trustees are in favor of it. I’d like that in writing that says that,” Ketcham said.

Spencer added that the official referral would have all of those types of permissions, and that he had no problem making sure that the approvals needed were in writing.

“We won’t see any sort of application for the actual wind turbines, because of the Article 10 process. In Arkwright, we saw a special use permit and a referral. That won’t happen in this situation just because of state law. So the only thing we’d be approving would be changes to town law.”

It is hopes that all the required paper work needed by the Planning Board will be available for review by the August meeting, so that the Cassadaga Wind Farm project can get underway.