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They voted Thursday in favor of adopting a controversial wind ordinance that was created by worried residents in response to a proposal to build a four- to six-turbine wind farm on a privately owned parcel on top of Mount Waldo. It will be the community's first-ever land-use ordinance.
The Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday night to extend the moratorium on wind power projects another six months and reappointed all members of the Industrial Wind Ordinance Committee.
Residents unanimously approved a wind development ordinance Wednesday night that restricts the placement of wind turbines to at least a mile and a half from a property line.
Last spring, 10 members of a Brooksville ordinance committee settled on a proposal that would prohibit new wind power turbines with towers standing more than 100 feet tall. The proposal will now go to town voters for consideration during Tuesday's general election.
The purpose of this Ordinance is to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents and property owners of Caratunk by establishing reasonable and uniform regulations for Wind Energy Facilities (WEFs).
In the first ordinance, which was often referred to as an anti-wind ordinance, the setback for turbines was 5,280 feet. The second ordinance put forth had the setback at 3,000 feet. The latest draft has a setback of 4,000 feet.
The NPB proposal would limit commercial wind projects to the town's Resort Development District (Sunday River Ski Resort), which, when combined with other regulations and easements, would mean the only location eligible for such a project would be the top of the Skiway's Barker Mountain.
Safety setback items were also slimmed down in the ordinance. Initially, the ordinance had language that included setbacks for property lines and residential lines. Selectmen agreed to do away with the residential line language and only have a property line restriction. The safety setback language was changed to require a wind turbine to be 4,000 feet from a property line.
Burdo said that he was not against wind power when used to benefit the people in the area where it was being generated. However, he said, he objected to local wind generation of electricity that would go onto the grid and be sold out of state at lower rates than local people were paying.
A committee charged with creating a wind-power ordinance agreed Thursday night to have member Jeff Pfeifer rewrite the document to address their concerns. ..."I wrote it this long because this wind subject has already gotten ugly," Pfeifer said. "We could be open to a lot of attacks. I tried to make it as comprehensible as possible."
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said two proposed ordinances were defeated in November 2010 and June 2011. One was considered too restrictive by some and the other was considered not restrictive enough by others.
Residents decided Wednesday night to impose a 180-day halt on any wind power development in order to examine revising the town's rules regarding wind turbines. Caratunk has a wind power development ordinance, but residents decided 18-2 to rewrite it.
Town officials will now have to wait to hear from Boston-based wind developer First Wind if Tuesday's defeat kills their interest in still pursuing a $65 million wind farm on Rumford hills. The current moratorium on wind projects expires on July 25.
Authors of the first proposal and Selectmen Greg Buccina and Jeremy Volkernick claim the new ordinance caters to wind developers and won't protect the town. They are asking voters not to accept it, saying it needs to be reworked.
The finally step was taken tonight in the ordinance development processes before taking the Wind Energy Facilities Ordinance to the voters June 14. This attempt is expected to pass as it provides protections for the health, safety, and welfare of the Town of Rumford and its residents.
The Pisgah project is the first wind farm proposed in Clifton since a moratorium was lifted last year and wind farm rules were included in an updated land use ordinance, according to articles previously published in the Bangor Daily News.
The article asks, "Shall the town discuss options and methods of producing and implementing regulations for industrial wind power projects and all associated infrastructure with such projects as contained within the town boundaries?"
"It isn't anti-First Wind. It isn't even anti-wind. It's really to say there should be guidelines in place for how these things are constructed in town, where they're placed," Glunn said. The petition requests a town meeting so that residents can answer the following question: "Shall the town vote to place a 180 day moratorium on wind facility development in Bingham?"
"If you don't want a turbine, one will never occur within a mile of you," Piotti said. "Beyond that, any company would be required to meet noise and [shadow] flicker standards to keep the impact minimal." Selectman James Kenney noted the ordinance also makes provisions that "any reduction in property value will have to be addressed by the wind turbine owner."
Voters made sure of that Saturday at their annual Town Meeting when they overwhelming approved a 39-page ordinance that one of the document's crafters described as "fairly restrictive." "We err on the side of the protecting the landowner."