There will be a new sight coming to the New York State Thruway Exit 59 location in the town of Dunkirk, according to a letter from the New York State Thruway Authority/New York State Canal Corporation that was read by Supervisor Richard Purol at Tuesday's board meeting.
According to the letter, wind-energy facility towers will be erected at Exit 59 in the town, the Eden-Angola interchange; the Silver Creek interchange, the Ripley toll barrier and the Westfield maintenance facility.
The turbines will be owned and operated by the Authority with construction for the first turbine at the Dunkirk interchange expected to begin later this year. The letter stated the town will be kept informed during the different stages of the project.
"They did talk to us, at least Sam (Mancuso) our Zoning Officer last year. They were curious about what our height requirements are for our wind-energy facilities in the town," Purol explained. "When we told them 160 foot they kind of laughed at us. They said it's going to be higher than that.
"The trouble is, I don't think we have any control over the Thruway. They're their own separate entity. Even though we might not like it as high as they're going to go with it, I don't think we have a lot, I don't think we're going to have any jurisdiction over what they're going to do. They're going to do it and that's it.
"It's on their property ... but we're going to watch it very closely to see exactly what they're going to do. We did have some advance idea this was going to be taking place. I'm just surprised they're using Dunkirk as the first one."
According to its website, the Thruway Authority will save money.
"It is estimated that conversion to the use of wind turbines at these five sites will reduce the electric costs in the Authority's Buffalo Division by 20 to 25 percent."
Town Attorney Jeff Passafaro was excused from the meeting but Purol said he would talk to him about the issue.
Energy was the concern of another communication the town received recently.
The Chautauqua County Home notified the town it had been issued a permit to drill a new gas well on county property behind its facility on Temple Road in the town by the state Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Mineral Resources. The anticipated start for the project is in June with an expected completion date of July 27.
"We haven't had a well drilled in the town in a while," Purol said while noting it was unclear whether the town had jurisdiction in this matter as well. "That's good news. That will help them out a lot, at least in the beginning. If they get a good well it will be a good day but they're expensive to drill."
In other business the board:
Reappointed John Ort-endahl to a five-year term on the Planning Board that will expire in 2016. Purol pointed out that in addition to being a dedicated member of the Planning board, Ortendahl has refused to accept his stipend payment for being on the board for the last few years.
Reappointed Estelle Harper to the Zoning Board for a term that will expire in 2016
Learned the Board of Assessment Review will meet May 31 from 4 to 8 p.m. in Town Hall to hear assessment grievances.
Approved the annual contract with the Dunkirk Free Library in the amount of $10,000.
Read a letter from Dunkirk Mayor Richard Frey requesting the annual donation to the city's July 4 fireworks display. Purol reported the town had budgeted its usual contribution for the display.
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