69 turbines planned in Cohocton, Dansville, Fremont, Wayland

BATH — Steuben County legislators considered a road use agreement for a large planned wind farm in the western part of the county during a meeting Monday of the county Public Works Committee.

The Baron Winds project, which has twice been reduced in scope, is currently planned to consist of 69 turbines in the towns of Cohocton, Dansville, Fremont and Wayland.

Developer innogy (operating as Baron Winds LLC) has negotiated the preliminary agreement with the county in anticipation of the wear and tear on local roads from the construction of the wind farm.

Public Works Commissioner Vince Spagnoletti told legislators the agreement begins with a bond payment for the use of each road, with a larger or smaller amount depending on the road in question.

Before and after the company uses the roads, a survey of road conditions will be conducted, including a new form of testing that can detect wear that isn’t visible to normal methods.

The new test can show “how much life was taken out of the road,” Spagnoletti told the committee.

At the end of the process, the agreement says county officials will decide how the roads are repaired.

“When they’re all done and the windmills are up, we make the final decision about what they’re going to do to the road,” Spagnoletti said.

The agreement was forwarded for final approval.

The committee on Monday also narrowly approved a measure to waive landfill fees for waste from a building demolition in the Town of Wayland.

The committee was initially split on the matter, 2-2. The landfill always gives municipalities a discount on tipping fees for construction and demolition waste, but waiving them entirely has been at the discretion of legislators.

It’s generally been done when a government or public agency is conducting a targeted demolition as part of blight mitigation or neighborhood improvement efforts.

Legislator John Malter of Perkinsville said that was the case with this project. Legislator Scott Van Etten of Caton, who was present but not a member of the committee, said in response that he believed Malter owned property near the site being demolished. Malter denied there was any conflict of interest.

Legislature Chairman Joseph Haurysky of Campbell was asked to break the tie, and voted in favor of waiving the fees in this case.

Legislator Robert Nichols said the issue could be avoided if a single consistent policy was in place rather than a system where legislators vote on the particulars of each situation.