Seven property owners in the Town of Prattsburgh must allow a wind farm developer to dig on their land.
That's because the town board voted to proceed with eminent domain Tuesday night.
Neighbors lined a street outside Prattsburgh town hall before the town board held its meeting to determine if they should use the power of eminent domain for a wind farm project. Several neighbors for wind farms held signs and wore green just to show their support for the project.
Town hall was packed inside with neighbors.
Officials voted three to two to proceed with eminent domain. That's when a government can force a property owner to sell their land for a project that benefits the entire area.
The move comes after seven property owners who, officials said, wouldn't give permission to have a cable be buried underneath a town road to connect the wind turbines.
Wind farm developer, First Wind, plans on building 36 wind turbines that look much like turbines already operating Cohocton. 48 properties in Prattsburgh would be affected by the project.
"I believe in clean energy and we now have an oil crisis in our nation, electricity bills are going up and everything is sky-rocketing." said supporter Joe Barkalow.
"I think small wind towers in conjunction with solar and hydro could be better than this project. I don't feel it will be beneficial for our community." said protestor Ruth Matilsky.
Town officials have been going through negotiations with First Wind since July of last year.
Board members were also expected to iron out legal issues involving two local school districts. Earlier this year, the school districts challenged a deal between the town and first wind. Districts are concerned about the loss of tax revenue because of the deal. Neither school district officials nor town officials would comment last night.
A NOTE FROM THE BPRC RESEARCH NERD: What can you do to keep this from happening in our community? You can begin by attending town board meetings, and one of the most important meetings you can attend is on July 3, 7pm, at the Magnolia town hall (county road A west of 213) This is the public hearing for Magnolia township's wind ordinance which includes a 2640 foot set back from our homes. The wind developers and others who stand to profit want the setback to be just 1000 feet -about 350 steps. You don't have to be from Magnolia township to attend. The townships of Union, Center, Spring Valley and others in Rock County are all targeted for wind farms and unless you attend town board meetings, you won't know what's being decided until it's too late. Ask the seven families in Prattsburgh if they wish they had paid more attention to what was going on, and if they wished they had attended town board meetings, and if they wished, before they cast their votes they had made sure the people who ran for town board had no financial connection with something that was about to tear their lives and their community apart. The meeting will last about two hours. The wind turbines will be here for 40 years. Can you spare two hours on the evening July 3rd to help preserve our land, the future of our homes and families, and health of our community? Please come and let the town board know you want them to adopt this ordinance.