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Wind power stirs town's residents

About two dozen residents attended the Roxbury selectmen’s meeting Thursday to discuss a variety of issues, but the land use ordinance and zoning for wind turbines were the hottest topics.

Concerned Citizens to Save Roxbury submitted a petition for a moratorium on wind power developments at the previous selectmen’s meeting. In addition to submitting the petition, the group also protested the March vote in which the ordinance was passed. The protest was based on procedures and other incidents leading up to the vote.

Selectman Mark Touchette said Thursday that he had hoped to set a date for a special town meeting, possibly in June, for residents to revisit the issue, but wanted to speak with organizers of Concerned Citizens first.

Touchette suggested that, due to procedural requirements regarding scheduling, it might be in residents’ best interest for Concerned Citizens to withdraw its moratorium petition and go ahead with a special town vote on an amended zoning ordinance that reflects the group’s concerns.

This, said Touchette, would allow for significantly more time to get pertinent information to residents before a re-vote on the issue.

On hand at the meeting was the president of Independence Wind, Robert Gardiner, who wanted to make it clear to townspeople that his organization is waiting on a resolution to this issue before going ahead with any wind tower construction.

Gardiner said that, while his company is conducting environmental studies in the area that need to be completed before the project could begin in earnest, “Independence Wind is not going to seek a (Department of Environmental Protection) permit until this issue is settled. We’re not going to be able to go forward until we get clarification from the town.”

Also on the agenda was progress on town road projects. Both Touchette and fellow board member Deborah DeRoche said the road budget is exceedingly thin, and they will have to prioritize projects in the coming weeks based primarily on safety concerns.

There is, according to the board, about $15,000 appropriated for road projects this summer.

“It’s just not enough to do everything,” Touchette said. “Some of these projects we can’t even touch.”

By Eric Horn
Special to the Sun Journal

Lewiston Sun Journal

25 April 2008