Winds of controversy at NY winery

From BuffaloNews.com

CAMBRIA, NY -- The owners of Arrowhead Spring Vineyards are planning to sue the Town of Cambria over last week’s rejection of their request to install a wind power turbine on their property.

After a crowded public meeting showed solid opposition last Monday, the town Planning Board voted unanimously against the winery’s proposal.

Owners Duncan and Robin Ross said they shouldn’t have even had to go before the board in the first place, since they say state law is written to encourage windmills on agricultural properties. But, Planning Board Chairman William Amacher and attorney Gary Billingsley said the applicants misled the board by saying that the windmill would have powered only the wine making operation. Once the board found out the windmill also was going to power the Ross home on the site, the project no longer qualified for a simple site plan review under the town’s ordinance, Billingsley said.

That shouldn’t be a big deal, Robin Ross said. “Like 90% of farms in New York State, we have one electric meter,” she said.

“It does make a difference,” Billingsley said. “Under normal circumstances, [Arrowhead] would have needed a special use permit, which requires a public hearing. [Duncan Ross] said it was only for agricultural purposes, which requires only site plan review.”

To obtain a special use permit, a noise study also would be required, Billingsley said. Anonymous fliers distributed around the town helped drum up a hostile crowd.

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