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Ball Hill wind farm project issued road permit

Construction for a third wind farm in Chautauqua County is getting closer.

Department of Public Facilities Director Brad Bentley said his department recently issued a permit to Northland Power regarding the construction of the Ball Hill Wind Farm. According to the company’s website, the project will consist of up to 29 turbines, occupying about 320 acres of land in the towns of Hanover and Villenova.

Bentley appeared before the legislature’s Public Facilities Committee to get approval of a contract where Northland Power will give the county $722,100 due to expected damage of Ball Hill Road, which is County Road 87. “We believe these estimates protect the county’s interest and are in reality the cost to get the work done,” he said.

Bentley noted that they had similar agreement with the construction of two other wind farms. The first wind farm caused about $880,000 of road damage and the county was paid $900,000.

According to Bentley, the agreement, which is in the form of a resolution, is binding. The county cannot seek more money unless Northland Power uses more trucks or goes on different roads than they said they would.

“We feel that our costs that we presented to the wind farm is representative of the expected damage,” he said.

The Public Facilities Committee backed the resolution to accept $722,100 for expected road damage. The full county Legislature must give its approval at its meeting set for Wednesday.

In a follow up interview with Bentley, he noted that the permit he was discussing at the committee was to permit the wind farm to use specific county roads for the construction activities. “The county collects a fee such that the county can repair the expected damage to county roads that the construction traffic is expected to cause. The road use permit was effective June 4, 2021 and is good for 2 years,” he said.

He added that the county road use permit does not cover any other aspects of the wind farm, as that is covered at either the state or town level depending on the issue.

According to Northland Power’s website, Ball Hill Wind, LLC, is a fully permitted 100 MW wind facility. The project has been in development since 2006 and has acquired a special use permit from the towns of Hanover and Villenova. The permit process included a thorough environmental review by the State Environmental Quality Review spanning all interested and involved agencies. The project has also received approvals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, United States Army Corps of Engineers and the New York Public Service Commission.

An email sent seeking a more definitive timeline for construction was not returned.

Chautauqua County already has two other wind farms. The Arkwright Summit wind farm is located in the town of Arkwright and has 36 turbines. The second one is the Cassadaga Wind Project which is located in the towns of Charlotte and Cherry Creek. This one is still in construction and will have 37 turbines once completed.

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