Local reaction opposing the Freedom Planning Board’s Dec. 7 decision permitting Competitive Energy Services (CES) to erect three wind turbines on Beaver Ridge has now gelled in the form of an appeal at the local level brought by 27 town residents.
A letter from Bangor attorney Ed Bearor received Tuesday at the town office addressed to Addison Chase, chairman of the town board of appeals, lists those appellants, all of whom live or own property within two miles of the proposed project site. Earlier, Bearor was on record as representing just four appellants, Judy Bennett, Steve Bennett, Jason Wade and Erin Bennett-Wade.
In another letter from Bearor to the appeals board chairman received Wednesday, the attorney contends the planning board “improperly found, without sufficient supportive evidence in the record, that the project would meet” a variety of standards set down in the town’s recently enacted Commercial Development Review Ordinance.
The specific areas of disagreement with the planning board’s permitting decision include noise, stormwater management, avoidance and mitigation of damages to public roads and drainage systems, bonding, and fire suppression. The pending appeal is also based on the planning board’s response to CES’s intention to combine transmission lines and points of connection to the local distribution lines, the Portland-based company’s alleged failure to demonstrate sufficient right title and interest in the area between the end of Sibley Road and the proposed project site and its alleged failure to demonstrate “that the project would not adversely affect the scenic or natural beauty of the area.”
In addition to the original four, all of whom are abuttors to the Beaver Ridge property that would be leased from Ron and Susan Price, the appellants include a further eight abuttors. They are Jeff Keating, Stacey Keating, Dave Bennett, Mary Ann Bennett, Tom Keating, Christina Keating, Bonnie Martin and Rick Martin.
Another seven appellants identified by Bearor as “residing within one mile of project and directly affected by project” are Matt Bennett, Adrienne Bennett, Carrie Bennett, Steven Bennett, Diane Winn and Marc Payne.
Bearor categorizes a half-dozen of the appellants as “residing within two miles of project and directly affected by project.” They are listed as Sallyann Hadyniak, Anna Hadyniak, John Clark, Barbara Ellis, Eric Kormann and Tanya Kormann.
In addition, Harold Palmer, Dawn Palmer and Corey Palmer are listed as “appellants affected by possible road widening at North Palermo/Sibley Road intersection.” This is a reference to a possible need to widen the road at that point in order to provide safe passage in moving to the construction site sections of the three 260-foot wind turbine towers and the nine 130-foot turbine blades that would be part of the approximately $12 million project.
A meeting of the five-member appeals board Thursday evening recessed shortly after it had convened. According to Chase, who was re-elected chairman at that time, the board seldom has occasion to meet. Lisa Widoff was elected co-chairman and Frances Walker secretary.
Chase reported to his fellow board members and to the 10 individuals in the audience at the town office that he had been advised that day by the Maine Municipal Association that because of a deficiency in announcing the meeting the board could do little more at that time than elect officers. He explained that while timely and proper public notification of the meeting was given in the form of printed notices posted at the Freedom Store and on the door at the town office, the board failed to provide written notice as required at least 48 hours in advance to the planning board, the selectmen and the code enforcement officer.
Accordingly, the board set another meeting for next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the town office. At that time, it is scheduled to consider just two matters associated with the wind turbine project appeal. They are whether to seek the assistance of an attorney and what the schedule of future meeting dates will be to take up the actual issues raised by the appeal.
“This will not be a one-night deal,” Chase assured fellow board members.
By Peter Taber
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