Article

Town looks to expand

Selectmen voted Monday to ask the state Legislature pass legislation allowing Carrabassett Valley to annex the upper portion of Redington Township, subject to local voters' approval. The move allows the process and debate to continue so that if the Legislature passes a private and special law, a townwide vote can occur. It will be up to Carrabassett Valley registered voters to make the final decision on annexation. If they approve, then it opens the process for a community-based wind farm to be built.

Selectmen voted Monday to ask the state Legislature pass legislation allowing Carrabassett Valley to annex the upper portion of Redington Township, subject to local voters' approval.

The move allows the process and debate to continue so that if the Legislature passes a private and special law, a townwide vote can occur. It will be up to Carrabassett Valley registered voters to make the final decision on annexation. If they approve, then it opens the process for a community-based wind farm to be built.

The annexation would clear the way for Carrabassett Valley to collect property taxes and fees on a proposed wind farm project.

Informational meetings and hearings will be held at the state and local level and even if legislators approve the annexation, voters can still say no, town officials said Monday during a presentation.

Harley Lee, president of Endless Energy Corp. of Yarmouth, gave an overview of the proposal to build a 30-turbine, 90-plus megawatt wind energy farm on Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain, which are in Redington Township, adjacent to Carrabassett Valley.

The proposal is similar to one rejected by the state Land Use Regulation Commission, which... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Selectmen voted Monday to ask the state Legislature pass legislation allowing Carrabassett Valley to annex the upper portion of Redington Township, subject to local voters' approval.

The move allows the process and debate to continue so that if the Legislature passes a private and special law, a townwide vote can occur. It will be up to Carrabassett Valley registered voters to make the final decision on annexation. If they approve, then it opens the process for a community-based wind farm to be built.

The annexation would clear the way for Carrabassett Valley to collect property taxes and fees on a proposed wind farm project.

Informational meetings and hearings will be held at the state and local level and even if legislators approve the annexation, voters can still say no, town officials said Monday during a presentation.

Harley Lee, president of Endless Energy Corp. of Yarmouth, gave an overview of the proposal to build a 30-turbine, 90-plus megawatt wind energy farm on Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain, which are in Redington Township, adjacent to Carrabassett Valley.

The proposal is similar to one rejected by the state Land Use Regulation Commission, which oversees about 10.5 million acres in unorganized territory, in January 2007.

Lee wants the town to annex about 10,000 acres owned by Redington Mountain Windpower, LLC, an affiliate of Endless Energy, and Dallas Co., a timber company.

The annexation would not include land owned by the U.S. Navy.

Carrabassett Valley was incorporated in 1971. In 1975, voters annexed Crockertown, which was then Sugarloaf Township, to create a town that remains the largest in land area of any organized town in Maine, according to the town's Web site.

More than 40 people turned out to hear the presentation of the concept and benefits of a wind farm.

Benefits cited are at least 50 percent savings in energy costs, $144 million added to the town's tax base and clean power to run the town. It also could benefit Sugarloaf and Sunday River ski resorts by saving up to $40 million over the life of the 15-year contract, according to information presented. Under the structure of the Sugarloaf Community Wind Farm, customers would provide the capital for the project and benefit from much lower and stable-priced energy costs, Lee said. It would cost an upfront $5,000 fee per residence once permitting was completed.

The reaction of the crowd was mixed, with several speaking against the project, some favoring the alternative energy proposal and others just wanting to move the process forward so a decision could be made. Some admonished selectmen for not holding a public hearing prior to a vote by the board.

"It is a start of a long process," select board Chairman Bob Luce said.

A bill needs to be submitted by mid January to the Legislature for consideration during this session. Even if the Legislature and Carrabassett Valley voters pass it, it would still need to go through the town's Comprehensive Plan process and voters would need to vote on it again, Luce said.

Rebecca London, 18, of Carrabassett Valley, said she had studied the wind project as an eighth-grader and now she's a senior at Mt. Abram High School, and would like to move the annexation forward to open up the proposal for debate and let town voters decide.

"I figure if selectmen vote on it and pass it, we can get the ball rolling," London said. "There will be plenty of time for debate later."

People will be able to make an informed and educated decision on the proposal, she said.

One of the greatest assets in Western Maine is the pristine mountains, said John Rohrer of York, a taxpayer in Carrabassett Valley for more than 25 years. Wind energy is great, he said, but there are places that are better suited for it.

Rohrer said selectmen have a unique responsibility in overseeing a town that has has 10 percent resident taxpayers and the other 90 percent of the taxpayers living there only part-time. Seventy percent of those taxpayers are from Maine, he said, and they could become full-time residents in no time, and get elected to the select board and overturn the board's decision.


Source: http://www.sunjournal.com/s...

JAN 6 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18486-town-looks-to-expand
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