BRIDGTON – Planning Board members discussed the possibility of addressing wind towers in a town ordinance during Tuesday night.
Code Enforcement Officer Rob Baker said a company had approached the town asking to conduct a wind study for a private individual. Baker said the installation of a wind farm for electricity generation would require a site plan review, while a basic building permit could be issued for private wind towers.
Vice Chairman D. Steve Collins said one of the major issues regarding wind towers is whether a stand-alone ordinance is needed. He said there are a limited number of areas in Bridgton where a wind farm could be put in place.
“Most of the stuff we saw was small-scale,” Collins said.
Alternate member Dee Miller said it would be helpful to define a small-scale project versus a large-scale project, and suggested that amendments to the town’s existing tower ordinance would be beneficial. That ordinance addresses locating communications towers.
Miller said the sample wind tower ordinances put before the board included such issues as setbacks, abandonment, structural integrity, lighting and “attractive nuisance” concerns to keep people from climbing the towers.
Baker said he had also heard a concern that the towers be included on global positioning systems for the benefit of LifeFlight helicopters landing at Bridgton Hospital.
Chairman Fred Packard said the towers would be regulated by the code enforcement officer.
“You’re going to keep out the snake oil salesmen,” he said.
Packard added that his residence is near an open field with high winds, and he has thought about installing a wind tower on the property. He said he had visited a wind farm in upstate New York and noted that the towers made little noise.
Miller said more technologies would become available as alternative energy becomes more popular, and said the town would have to provide guidance in the establishment of towers.
“I think it just makes sense to start thinking about it,” Miller said.
By M. Dirk Langeveld
18 June 2008
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