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Wind farm amendment questioned

Cattaraugus County Planning Board members agreed last week that the Town of Allegany's proposed zoning amendment for wind farm special use permits is generally acceptable. But the board wants the town to consider some questions that came up during a review of the amendment.

County Planner Chris G. Crawford told board members that the proposed amendment has no significant countywide or intercommunity impact. But he recommended the town be informed that a number of relatively minor questions arose when staff and board members reviewed what he termed an otherwise "good" amendment.

Board members voted to send the town an advisory and an offer of technical assistance, with a list of questions about: the definition of a hunting cabin; consistency of height and radius requirements, setbacks and approval conditions; whether prohibitions on distributing energy beyond property lines will prevent the owners of these noncommercial systems from "selling back to the grid;" and issues surrounding restrictions governing turbine placement near wells, fuel oil tanks, and exploration and mining structures.
The county advisory was to be forwarded immediately to the town because a public hearing is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Senior Center on Birch Run Road. If the Town Board amends its zoning ordinance, special use permits can be granted for wind energy conversion systems -- or private and commercial wind turbines.
In other action, a request for music festivals in the Town of Randolph was tabled and an advisory also will be sent to the Randolph Zoning Board of Appeals seeking a determination of the correct zoning. The board is considering a special use permit application for concerts and music festivals at the corner of Fox and Pine Hill roads.
Approval was recommended for the Town of Yorkshire Planning Board's issuance of a special use permit for Glacial Aggregates' proposed 125-acre gravel mine on McKinstry Road.

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