Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Maine
AUGUSTA — A new study of the legalities and logistics of an electrical utility partnership involving Maine and New Brunswick shows no significant barriers to such a cross-border collaboration. It also shows “significant economic and environmental benefits” are possible on both sides of the border through closer coordination in the production and transmission of electricity.
I also reject the notion that this debate is about efforts to reduce global warming, and the opposition to the project is a return of NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard). The debate, in my mind, was and still is about process, and whether a small town is able and prepared to understand the need to treat all landowners fairly, and the importance of planning tools like ordinances to facilitate a fair process. By supporting the repeal as a way to circumvent accountability, CES may get the high ground on Beaver Ridge for its turbines, but in no way did CES take the high ground in serving all residents of Freedom with respect and fairness as it struggled to meet the needs of this project and to plan for appropriate development in the future.
FREEDOM - The Portland company hoping to erect three electricity-generating wind turbines on Beaver Ridge has reapplied for a town permit. This time, without a commercial development ordinance posing a stumbling block, the project appears on the fast-track to fruition.
Competitive Energy Services has reapplied for permission to erect three wind turbines on Beaver Ridge. The town received Competitive Energy's application to build the turbines in a thick binder delivered by Federal Express Monday evening, said Town Clerk Cindy Abbott. The planning board is scheduled to consider the application and likely give its approval on July 12.
Stetson Mountain is more ridgeline than mountain, running like a backbone for six miles through the rolling hills that dominate Washington County's northernmost border with Canada. Moderate winds sweep across those hills from Canada and pick up speed as they zoom up Stetson Mountain, which at roughly 1,100 feet is among the tallest ridges in this sparsely peopled corner of Maine. That combination of high winds and low population has one company seeing green.
FREEDOM-The on-again, off-again wind turbine project on Beaver Ridge may have gotten the final green light on Tuesday when voters agreed to repeal the commercial zoning ordinance that all but doomed the project earlier this year. Residents agreed by a 159-112 margin to repeal the ordinance, which was established last year in response to Portland-based Competitive Energy Service's plan to install three 400-foot turbines on the ridge.
The Maine Use Regulation Commission voted 6 to 1 on Wednesday, June 6 to reopen the Public Record for Maine Mountain Power's wind farm proposal for Northern Franklin County. A letter dated May 9, 2007 by MMP requested LURC to reopen the Public Hearing and Public Record because it had reevaluated its initial petition in response to both a strong opposition that raised concern about the project and on a modification recommendation proposed by the Natural Resource Council of Maine. During the lengthy Public Hearing process, NCRM suggested that the petitioner revise its original proposal and develop only the Black Nubble Mountain Range to reduce the size of the development area which will reduce the potential for impacts.
On April 25 the staff of the Land Use Regulation Commission deemed the application from TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc. complete. The application includes the rezoning of 2,908 acres in the Kibby and Skinner Townships to become a Planned Development Subdistrict for the purpose of constructing the Kibby Wind Power Project. The proposal includes a 132 megawatt wind farm consisting of 44 turbines, transmission lines, gravel access roads, maintenance and operations building, a substation and related activities.
The new plan stands a much better chance of getting built because it doesn't disturb the most sensitive areas and is farther from the Appalachian Trail. But it is still an example of how conflicted environmentalists can be on wind energy. The Conservation Law Foundation, a strong supporter of the plan from the start, urged the commission to reconsider instead of killing the plan. According to CLF, global warming from fossil fuel use is a much bigger threat to the environment and wildlife than the wind turbines. Maine Audubon, a steadfast opponent of the plan, argued against giving the developer extra time to regroup instead of having to start over. As Audubon saw the Redington plan, the impacts on wildlife and a sensitive natural resource outweighed the benefits of that particular wind farm.
State regulators agreed Wednesday to consider a scaled-down proposal for a controversial wind farm in western Maine near Sugarloaf/USA rather than force the developer to start the review process from scratch. The Land Use Regulation Commission also named intervenors and set tentative public hearing dates for two less-contentious wind energy projects proposed for northern Washington and Franklin counties. In the latest twist in an already complicated case, LURC voted 6-1 to essentially keep alive a revised application from Maine Mountain Power to build a wind farm in Carrabassett Valley.
Three environmental organizations agreed to back the proposed Kibby Mountain wind-power project in Franklin County after the developer agreed to pay $500,000 to protect several high-elevation acres in Oxford County. According to a late Tuesday afternoon report, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Audubon and Natural Resources Council of Maine negotiated the deal with TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc.
The [land use regulation] commission will decide whether to accept a staff recommendation to reject Maine Mountain Power's proposal to put 30 wind turbines on Black Nubble Mountain and Redington Pond Range in Franklin County. At the same meeting, the commission will also decide whether to accept a staff recommendation to reopen the record to consider a much smaller version of he same project with 18 turbines on Black Nubble only.
As a tourist who visits the area, I notice what is transparent to most locals, and for me the skyline of Fairhaven is priceless. If the citizens of Fairhaven allow the wind power project to be built at the current proposed location, I believe you will be making a terrible mistake. The town may gain some money in taxes and offset some electrical energy costs, but it will not offset the loss in green space and, more importantly, the beauty of Fairhaven's historic charm.
Representatives of TransCanada Energy Ltd. will hold an open house Thursday to field questions on the proposed $270 million Kibby Wind Power project in northern Franklin County. The company plans to site 44, three-megawatt turbines on private land that is actively managed for forestry on Kibby Mountain (17 to 19 turbines) and Kibby Range (25 to 27 turbines) in Kibby Township and Skinner Township, about 8 miles north of Eustis.
A 46-page commercial development review ordinance, adopted nine months ago, was meant to give Freedom the authority to adequately review projects that could have substantial impact on the town. Motivated in large part by a $12 million proposal to build three 400-foot-tall windmills on Beaver Ridge, the ordinance also spells out development standards for cell towers, landfills, water extraction, adult businesses and other commercial enterprises. "It was a tool for the town to guide development," Glen Bridges told about 40 people at a public hearing Tuesday, May 15. "The tool broke down when it was put to the test. It was never intended to kill the [windmill] project."
FREEDOM - A wind turbine project that failed to meet the town's standards will move ahead if residents vote to remove those standards next month. That was the message those in favor of the project delivered to approximately 100 people who attended Tuesday's hearing on repealing the town's Commercial Development Review Ordinance.
FREEDOM - An ordinance to guide commercial development that was passed just last year may already be on the chopping block. The town has scheduled a hearing for 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Grange Hall to repeal the Commercial Development Review Ordinance just a year after voters approved it. The ordinance was developed in response to Portland-based Competitive Energy Services plans to install three electricity generating wind turbines on Beaver Ridge. While the planning board approved the turbines, in March the board of appeals rejected the project after finding it failed to meet the the noise levels and that Competitive Energy had not met bonding requirements spelled out in the commercial development ordinance. A referendum ballot vote on the ordinance is scheduled for June 12.
The executive order creating the task force notes that "wind resources occur in various areas of the State that may have important ecological, natural resource, remote resource, and other values that are important to Maine people that can lead to conflict regarding the siting of wind power facilities." The group is to recommend ways to resolve such conflicts, to improve and streamline regulation and siting, and to encourage wind power in Maine. The order does not say that an important value is being able to turn on lights, televisions, computers, coffee makers, computers, and on and on.
There was mixed reaction from environmental groups Wednesday to a plan to scale back a controversial wind power project. Maine Mountain Power proposed stripping 12 wind turbines on environmentally sensitive Redington Pond Range from the Redington Wind Farm application that was rejected in January in an unusual 6-1 vote in which the Land Use Regulation Commission went against the recommendation of its staff. In a letter dated Wednesday, Maine Mountain Power asked the commission to reopen the record to reconsider the proposal with only the 18 wind turbines on nearby Black Nubble Mountain.
A second lawsuit — this one brought by neighboring property owners — has been filed at Waldo County Superior Court over the Board of Appeal's March 8 decision on the project...In their action, the Bennetts and Keating claim the appeals board — even though it ultimately supported their view that the project should be denied — erred in a number of findings.