About 20 residents attended an informational meeting Wednesday night where Lempster selectmen revealed the details of a proposed agreement with the developers of a windfarm.
“We’ve had a lot of meetings and it’s near completion,” Lempster Selectman Bill Murgatroy said of the proposal. “It’s a working document.”
Community Energy Inc. and Lempster Wind LLC, (collectively known as CEI) have proposed the construction of 12 windmills for electrical generation atop Lempster Mountain.
The selectmen took about 40 minutes to read the 19-page document which is intended to protect the town’s interests.
“We don’t have any zoning in town,” Murgatroy said. “This was the only way to impose restrictions. The purpose of this agreement is to protect the town.”
One restriction would limit the hours of construction to 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Construction would not be allowed on Sunday.
But Murgatroy pointed out the select board members could change the construction times if they felt it hindered CEI.
“We have the right to wave that if it puts an undo burden on them,” Murgatroy said.
Other restrictions in the proposed agreement include a plan to decommission the windmills should they become inoperative, banning the use of herbicides and pesticides on the 35-acre site and repairing any damage to roads caused by hauling heavy equipment.
Murgatroy said negotiations have not started regarding any payment in lieu of taxes from CEI because the value of the windfarm has yet to be determined.
“The Department of Revenue Administration will determine the value of the windfarm,” Murgatroy said. “Right now, we don’t know.”
CEI has paid for the preparation of the agreement which was done by attorney Harry Judd and engineer John Hart of Accion Group of Concord.
“We never could have dealt with all of these issues without them,” Murgatroy said of Judd and Hart.
The proposed agreement will be brought before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee during a hearing on Monday in Concord. The SEC will also discuss concerns from the town of Goshen over power line placement.
The SEC has until July 3 to render a decision regarding the windmill project. If approval is granted, construction is expected to last between six and nine months.
Last week, the SEC held three days of hearings in Concord on the proposal.
By Aaron Aldridge
5 April 2007
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