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FARMERSVILLE SITE IS EYED FOR LANDFILL RESIDENTS TO HEAR PLANS FOR RTE. 98 PROPOSAL AT JULY 9 BOARD MEETING

Town residents will learn about plans to place a sanitary landfill on 437 acres along Route 98 at a presentation to the Town Board at 8 p.m. July 9.

Supervisor Duane M. Hooper said "nothing official has been presented to the Town Board" so far about the plans by a group of investors.

William Heitzenrater of AFI Environmental in Lockport is handling the landfill announcement. He said public meetings will be scheduled to tell area residents how the process will work and engineering firms will be announced as the project progresses. At this time, he said, no formal application has been made to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a landfill permit. He said further information will be made available at the town meeting.

Hooper said the project will include an area for composting and recycling to serve the Western New York area.

Heitzenrater requested the meeting with the Town Board Thursday, said Hooper, and "talked on the positive side of what it would mean for our town to benefit the tax base."

For several months Hooper said he's been aware of test borings done on properties owned by and optioned to Kenneth Lefler of Brookside Terrace in the Town of Tonawanda. Town residents reported hearing that a resort, office building or landfill was planned.

Lefler owns a camp and 101 acres in the proposed development area. Adjacent vacant land totaling 100 acres is owned by Roy Lefler of Tonawanda.

Leah Burlingame who owns 35 acres in the same area said she agreed in January to sell Lefler her farm "for a resort," but has not completed the transaction. She said she has an arrangement to continue living on the property for two years.

There has been considerable talk in the town that the landfill area includes a 216-acre farm owned by Eugene Peterson on Route 98.

Assessor Alice Wright said that although there has been no official action or property transfer made, the talk continues. "I don't like the idea of a landfill coming here run by someone we don't know," she said.

"Some of us toured CID landfill (in Chaffee) and it's well-run. A landfill would help our tax base and we need some place to put the stuff," she said. Her farm property would be adjacent to the proposed site.

Hooper said the Town Board has discussed a landfill. "We are divided on the issue," he said. As for Hooper's opinion, "I'd have to think about it."

The town has no local ordinance banning a landfill but in 1983 passed a law prohibiting the importation of toxic or hazardous wastes. Town Attorney Donald Swanz is now looking into the legality of amending that law to exclude other operations.

On Wednesday Heitzenrater spoke to a closed session of the Cattaraugus County Legislature's Public Works Committee. County Attorney Dennis V. Tobolski said the meeting was closed "to "discuss a possible contract with a corporation."

As details leaked from the meeting, it was learned that Heitzenrater told legislators about plans to locate a 1,000-acre landfill along Route 98. Legislators were told "as a courtesy" before the plan is presented to the Farmersville Town Board, said one lawmaker.

Legislators have discussed a new landfill for more than a year and there is little support to use taxpayer money for construction. The county spent $3 million in the last few years to close two landfills.

The Olean Task Force, a citizens watchdog group on solid waste, does not favor a privately owned landfill. Dr. Barry Gan, a spokesman, Thursday said that a county-owned landfill could regulate the solid waste dumped there.

"Once you allow a private landfill to open you won't be able to keep others away. A public landfill will operate 20 to 30 years and a private landfill will fill up quicker with wastes coming in from anywhere," he said.

The county has estimated it would cost $750,000 an acre to develop a new landfill.

Rickey M. Johnson, county public works commissioner, said new regulations from the state Department of Environmental Conservation governing landfill construction are still being drafted.

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