Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Maine
Brunswick-based wind power developers Robert Gardiner and Angus King were at a Planning Board meeting Thursday night for expected work on zoning changes that would allow wind towers on town hills. But that didn't happen. The planning meeting was supposed to have been preceded by a meeting Tuesday at which selectmen were expected to appoint planners Barry Bunten, Mark Henry and Randy Orr to a planning commission. That commission would be tasked with reviewing and recommending revisions to the comprehensive plan and the proposed creation of a new mountain district zone. Until that happens, Henry said, planners couldn't legally work on either document.
In a public hearing that lasted nearly three hours and was moderated by state Rep. John Patrick, D-Rumford, citizens grilled would-be wind farm developer Rob Gardiner, of Independence Wind, LLC, about every possible aspect of his proposed project. Roxbury Pond homeowner Linda Kuras, representing Concerned Citizens to Save Roxbury, presented a letter from the group's attorney, Frank Underkuffler, expressing the opinion that the proposed change to the ordinance would render it incompatible with Roxbury's existing comprehensive plan, and therefore illegal. "You're partly correct," responded Gardiner. "The incompatibility issue is a judgment call." However, he said, his company was now requesting that the town consider making modifications to both the comprehensive plan and the zoning ordinance, a two-step process that could be handled at one town meeting.
Discussion was vigorous and emotional at Thursday night's public hearing on a proposed zoning change allowing wind turbines to be built atop town ridges. More than 70 people attended the more than two-hour meeting in sweltering heat and humidity at the town office conference room. Most came to pepper town planners and Brunswick-based Independence Wind LLC principal Robert Gardiner with more questions and concerns than they had answers. ...At several points during the debates, moderated by state Rep. John Patrick, D-Rumford, planners appeared at a loss to explain their actions in drafting the proposed zoning change.
That hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, in the town office. The proposal would create a mountain zone district, which would include all areas of the mountain ridge comprising portions of Record Hill, Flathead Mountain, Mine Notch, Partridge Peak and North and South Twin mountains at or above an elevation of 1,500 feet. The district would be restricted to wind energy facilities.
Three Woodstock town officials last week expressed their support for a potential plan to place wind-power towers on Spruce Mountain. Business partners Todd Presson and Andy Novey of Quincy, Mass. are studying the feasibility of a wind-generating project utilizing 20 to 25 towers, Presson said by phone Tuesday. Such towers would likely be approximately 260 feet high, he said. Each would have three blades, with each blade about 250 feet in diameter.
The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission will take up TransCanada's proposed final development plan for a 44-turbine, 132-megawatt commercial wind power project in northern Franklin County when it meets Wednesday in Orono. ...The estimated cost of the development is $270 million, of which the turbines would constitute $166 million, the transmission line $20 million, and the remainder would be for the collector line system and substation, $15 million, turbine foundation sand turbine installation, $18 million, roads, $28 million, and other indirect costs, $23 million.
At Tuesday night's special town meeting, a majority of Roxbury residents enacted an ordinance that would place a 180-day moratorium on wind power development. ...Regarding the wind power ordinance, the final tally after a short discussion was 67 yes, 34 no. "We're pleased with the outcome," Linda Kuras, founder of Concerned Citizens to Save Roxbury, said after moderator John Sutton announced the results and adjourned the meeting. The group submitted the petition that sparked Tuesday's meeting three weeks after Roxbury town meeting voters in March passed a zoning amendment allowing massive wind turbines along the town's prominent ridgelines.
State regulators are soliciting public comments on new rules that will speed up the approval process for siting large wind farms throughout much of Maine. The new rules, which are based on legislation approved earlier this year by both the Legislature and Gov. John Baldacci, streamline the regulatory process by identifying areas as appropriate for wind-energy projects.
The secret ballot referendum that asked residents to reenact the Commercial Development Review Ordinance that voters repealed last June failed Tuesday night in a vote of 117 in favor of the ordinance to 164 opposed. The ordinance has been the source of much controversy in the town for that past two years. The original Commercial Development Review Ordinance was created in response to a windmill project proposed by Portland-based Competitive Energy Services (CES) in 2006. CES expressed interest in constructing three wind turbines on Beaver Ridge. The ordinance was first passed in August 2006.
The town's voters made environmental history by approving solar and wind power referenda by large majorities establishing the town as the third Maine municipality to have an ordinance governing small wind energy systems - and the first such ordinance in southern Maine. Eliot joins Wiscasset and Damariscotta, which adopted small wind power (less than 100 kilowatts) ordinances in June 2006 and in February of this year, respectively. The wind ordinance was written to include standards such as height, setbacks and the wind turbines will need to meet Eliot noise ordinances that are quite strict according to Energy Commission Chairman Larry Dow, who researched and wrote the ordinance.
The Town Council took no action Monday on a citizen request to begin zoning changes aimed at regulating industrial wind-powered energy within the municipality. Nearly 100 residents were on hand for the meeting in which Mark Aman presented the proposed ordinance amendment. Aman wanted the council to ask the planning board to present the zoning change to voters. Aman indicated that since all residents of Fort Kent could find themselves neighbors to wind-powered projects, they should all be allowed to vote on the matter at a town meeting.
Public informational meeting scheduled in advance of special town meeting
As more people start installing wind turbines at their homes and businesses, communities are thinking about what if any rules they should adopt to minimize potential negative impacts. Should wind turbines be allowed on hilltops, where they can catch the most wind - and be seen for miles around? How tall should turbine towers be? How close to neighboring property? How many wind turbines per acre? Should there be limits on how much noise they can make? "These are things we really need to address," Bar Harbor Planning Director Anne Krieg said in an interview last week.
Residents on both sides of the debate over the commercial development review ordinance gathered Tuesday night at the Grange Hall for a public hearing. Residents will vote June 10 by secret ballot referendum on the question, "Shall an ordinance entitled Town of Freedom Commercial Development Review Ordinance be enacted with all of its provisions being retroactive to June 12, 2007?" Several residents on both sides of the issue stood up to explain their opinions. Of those who were in favor of reinstating the ordinance, most emphasized a need for protection, both for individual property owners and for the town as a whole. ..."We enthusiastically and rather desperately support the reenactment of this ordinance," Winn said.
When town voters head to the polls on June 10, they could be making "green" history. They will be asked if they want to allow small, private wind generators in town. If they approve the measure, Eliot will become only the third Maine municipality to have an ordinance governing small wind energy systems and the first town in southern Maine. Eliot would join Wiscasset and Damariscotta, which adopted small wind power ordinances in June 2006 and in February of this year, respectively. ...Eliot residents have expressed concerns regarding possible noise from wind turbines.
Many of the landowners whose property abuts the Beaver Ridge windmill project met at the Beaver Ridge Road home of Sally Hadyniak Saturday afternoon to voice some concerns about the windmill project and explain why they want the town to reinstate its commercial development review ordinance. ...[Resident Jeff] Keating explained at Saturday's press conference that he wants to see in writing that the builders of the project, formerly referred to as Competitive Energy Services (CES) but now known as Beaver Ridge Wind LLC, will abide by the standards set forth in the ordinance. Originally, CES had worked with the town while it created the ordinance but, according to the abutters, were ultimately unwilling to make the windmill project meet the ordinance's guidelines, and encouraged the town to get rid of the ordinance after it had been enacted.
The town has already spent too much money fighting Ron Price's battles. If the town spends more money fighting the road issue on Ron Price's behalf, then place the blame where it belongs. The residents of Beaver Hill did not ask for this to happen to us. We feel that we are entitled to at least some protection, and that the town has largely ignored our concerns. If this project goes through, Freedom will have the distinction of being the only industrial wind turbine project ever carried out in the State of Maine without any standards whatsoever. Please vote yes to reinstate the Commercial Development Review Ordinance on June 10.
Residents opposed to the construction of three electricity-generating wind turbines on Beaver Ridge will meet this afternoon, not far from the turbines' proposed location. The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m., at the home of Charles and Sally Ann Hadyniak at 218 Beaver Ridge Road. Those opposed to the project hope that residents will vote on June 10 to reinstate the town's commercial-development review ordinance. According to Town Attorney William Kelly, reinstatement of the ordinance could put Portland-based Competitive Energy Service's project in jeopardy.
The neighbors of the proposed wind turbine project in Freedom are asking the voters of Freedom to reinstate the Commercial Review Ordinance at the June referendum, retroactive to the date of the repeal. This is the only way to put some reasonable standards in force. When the town voted to repeal the ordinance last year, we were told the Planning Board would write a new one. That has not happened. ...Consequently, we have no protection from noise, ice throw, strobe effect, no safety setbacks, no standards of any type. These 400-foot turbines will be located only 350 feet from our property lines. We don't even have a fall zone, much less the safety setbacks recommended by turbine manufacturers.
The fate of a proposed wind tower project for Roxbury will be at stake at a special town meeting this June. Several citizens pressed the selectmen to have the special town meeting as soon as possible at a selectmen's meeting on May 8. On March 27, the Concerned Citizens to Save Roxbury submitted a petition asking for a 180-day moratorium on the wind towers. The selectmen approved the petition on April 11. ...The town meeting will take place on June 17 at 6:30 p.m. at a site to be determined.