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Town meeting to decide wind power fate

About 25 people attended Tuesday night's hearings on wind power and proposed Roxbury law changes to accommodate wind energy facilities. Most of them opposed such development, planner Mark Henry said. ..."The big thing is that we want to get the issue before the people of Roxbury so they can have their vote," he said.

Voters will decide next week whether or not to allow wind power turbines on town hills, resolving the 18-month controversy over a proposed $120 million energy project.

The special town meeting begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15.

About 25 people attended Tuesday night's hearings on wind power and proposed Roxbury law changes to accommodate wind energy facilities. Most of them opposed such development, planner Mark Henry said.

"I think there was only three people we hadn't seen before and they came up with some pertinent information," he said.

Driving the issue for the past year and a half is a $120 million 55-megawatt wind power project by Record Hill Wind LLC.

Comprised of Independence Wind principals Angus King and Robert Gardiner, and landowner Bayroot LLC of Delaware, Record Hill Wind wants to construct a wind power facility and 22 2.5-megawatt turbines along 3 miles on the ridge of Partridge Peak, Flathead Mountain and the southern slope of Record Hill.

The total height of a turbine with blade fully extended is 420 feet, which is much higher than current town laws allow.

At the March 2008 town meeting, voters created a new zoning district allowing... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Voters will decide next week whether or not to allow wind power turbines on town hills, resolving the 18-month controversy over a proposed $120 million energy project.

The special town meeting begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15.

About 25 people attended Tuesday night's hearings on wind power and proposed Roxbury law changes to accommodate wind energy facilities. Most of them opposed such development, planner Mark Henry said.

"I think there was only three people we hadn't seen before and they came up with some pertinent information," he said.

Driving the issue for the past year and a half is a $120 million 55-megawatt wind power project by Record Hill Wind LLC.

Comprised of Independence Wind principals Angus King and Robert Gardiner, and landowner Bayroot LLC of Delaware, Record Hill Wind wants to construct a wind power facility and 22 2.5-megawatt turbines along 3½ miles on the ridge of Partridge Peak, Flathead Mountain and the southern slope of Record Hill.

The total height of a turbine with blade fully extended is 420 feet, which is much higher than current town laws allow.

At the March 2008 town meeting, voters created a new zoning district allowing massive wind turbines to be erected along the town's ridgelines.

But, because two public hearings weren't held and notices weren't posted in the newspaper, wind power opponents pushed through a petition that established a 180-day moratorium on wind power development enabling further studies and discussion.

From that came the proposed amendment to the comprehensive plan on Aug. 18, 2008, and, on Nov. 13, a proposed Natural Land Use ordinance amendment.

The first establishes standards for wind power development and creates a policy wherein Roxbury now recognizes wind energy as a valuable natural resource that can be encouraged if appropriately sited.

The second proposal recreates the new Mountain District Zone first OK'd in March then later rescinded to allow for reconsideration. It also establishes allowed and disallowed usage, and defines wind energy facilities.

At next week's town meeting, residents will first vote on an amendment to the comprehensive plan, then an amendment to Roxbury's Natural Land Use ordinance.

If either fails, an ordinance that OK's wind power facilities to be built on town hills that was approved and enacted at the March 3, 2008, town meeting, then later rescinded, would stand.

However, because that would then create a legal loophole due to procedural irregularities that occurred prior to the March 3 vote, there is a fourth article to consider on the Jan. 15 warrant. That article states that should voters defeat the proposed Natural Land Use ordinance amendment, the ordinance enacted on March 3, 2008, would be re-re-enacted.

If voters defeat the fourth article, then wind power developers will have to find another town in which to try and erect turbines, Henry said.

"If it is repealed, that pretty much means wind power in Roxbury is dead," Henry said early Wednesday evening.

"The big thing is that we want to get the issue before the people of Roxbury so they can have their vote," he said.

Speaking of Tuesday's hearings, he said, "We went through all the documentation, we took comments from the crowd for over two hours, and we ended up accepting the documents as they were presented at the Nov. 12 or 13 meeting."


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

JAN 8 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18517-town-meeting-to-decide-wind-power-fate
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