October 27, 2021

C’ville board tables wellhead decision

The Cortlandville Town Board tabled action Wednesday on a six-month moratorium for projects being
developed in its wellhead protection areas.

The decision at a town board meeting followed a public hearing at which no one spoke.

The moratorium would prohibit approval or expansion of projects in the wellhead protection areas and
give time for the town to expand its zoning laws. Prohibited projects would include:

  • All mining projects.
  • Projects that include the production or processing of bulk quantities of any hazardous material or toxic substance.
  • Gas stations.
  • Projects that feature the open storage of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
  • The disposal of toxic substances or hazardous materials.

Town Attorney John DelVecchio initially suggested the board adopt the amendment to the local law, in conjunction with adopting the town’s comprehensive plan, but not adopt the moratorium in order to expedite the process. Additionally, the law could be adopted in the time it would take to adopt and implement the moratorium, he said.

Board member Douglas Withey said he favored tabling the moratorium because he wasn’t as familiar with the procedures of adopting local laws with a moratorium enacted and the board could withdraw the moratorium later.

More details
To view the proposed moratorium and changes that would be implemented through a local law amendment, go to tinyurl.com/2ff29482.

“That’s probably smarter, now that I think about it, because it may be your decision at a later date to either not adopt the final changes or tinker with them,” DelVecchio responded.

“And it may be appropriate at that time to move forward with the moratorium until the changes are tinkered with and, ultimately, voted on.”

Board member Ted Testa said he was against tabling the moratorium, instead he wanted to adopt the law regarding developments in the wellhead protection areas.

The wellhead protection areas surrounding water-well fields are mostly located in the southwestern, northeastern and eastern parts of the town, town documents show.

Supervisor Tom Williams said last week the need for the moratorium came to light because of a proposed mine expansion by Cortlandville Sand and Gravel off Route 13 in the town. The expansion would add 9 acres to the mine and dig down 100 feet below the town’s water table, town documents show.

Town officials and residents have raised concerns about potential exposure in the town’s drinking water due to the expansion of the mine near the aquifer.

Contamination of the water could affect up to 30,000 people in Cortland County, Williams said.