After winning "conceptual" approval from the DEC in May of 1996 for its plan, IWS continues to string the Town of Farmersville along with little more than options on land in the Town where it wants to build a 3,000 ton-per-day commercial garbage dump. Today, IWS remains many months away from applying for a DEC permit. Because of burdensome elements the DEC Commissioner has imposed on any future permit application by IWS, it will take a number of years before we see a final DEC decision.
Meanwhile Cattaraugus County is proceeding with plans to take the land at the proposed landfill site for a county park. The County's power of eminent domain authorizes it to take such action, and a Generic Environmental Impact Statement paving the way for the taking will be completed this fall.
A preliminary meeting between County officials and IWS to negotiate a fair price for the land, and so avoid condemnation proceedings, failed. IWS was predictably brutish in its demands for all the money it thinks it might realize if the landfill is permitted. At this point, however, the company can hardly rely on succeeding in its efforts. Its been over six years since IWS came to town and no ground has been broken for a landfill yet.
New York courts will compensate a private property owner whose land is taken for the value of its permitted use. Since IWS doesn't own the land on which it plans to build a dump in Farmersville, and has no permit to construct a dump, the largest portion of the value the company sees in a future landfill in Farmersville isn't available to it if the County takes the land.
The compensation IWS can expect is the fair market value of the land. The County has completed a fair market assessment of the land as farmland, which is its past and present permitted use. The land is worth $350,000 according to the assessment.
Beyond the costs of the land, the County will incur minimal future costs for a park in Farmersville. This is because the Legislature has committed to only primitive recreational facilities until such time as external grants or private investment proposals to fund improvements can be identified.