A wind-power proposal by Competitive Energy Services LLC of Portland continues to generate more paperwork than energy.
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.
CES wants to build three wind turbines atop Beaver Ridge. It has said the $12 million project could generate enough electricity to serve 2,000 homes.
The proposal was put on hold when the appeals board overturned the Planning Board’s Dec. 7 approval of the project, saying it did not meet noise requirements in Freedom’s Commercial Development Review Ordinance.
CES filed suit in Superior Court in mid-April, seeking to overturn the appeals board action.
But Steven Bennett, his daughter Erin Bennett-Wade, and their neighbor Jeff Keating, have also filed suit.
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. The plaintiffs said the board was wrong to conclude:
“¢ The project complied with setback requirements in the ordinance.
“¢ CES had shown it has “sufficient right, title and interest” in the project site to make the application.
“¢ The developer did not need to submit a storm water management plan.
“¢ The parcel met the farmland classification requirements in the ordinance.
“¢ The project met the fire suppression standards in the ordinance.
The Bennetts and Keating asked the court to throw out the decisions of the planning board and board of appeals, and deny the CES application.
Also in the suit, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare that CES has no right to improve a discontinued road between the Bennett-Wade and Keating properties, or to place utility lines along it.
In its proposal, CES said it would widen and improve the road to allow the passage of construction vehicles. In addition, power transmission lines would be built along the road.
The plaintiffs, however, said the road has not been kept passable for motor vehicles at town expense since at least 1940. The road is presumed to have been abandoned 30 years after it was last maintained by the town.
Furthermore, they said the road was formally discontinued by a townwide vote in 1975, and the town did not retain an easement for utilities.
“The defendant [CES] does not have the right to construct such a road or widen it beyond its traditional six- to eight-foot width,” the suit claimed.
By Andy Kekacs
VillageSoup/Waldo County Citizen Copy Editor
9 May 2007
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