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Vote on mountain ordinance Monday

BYRON – Residents will vote on whether to adopt a Mountain District Ordinance at a special town meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, at the Coos Canyon Schoolhouse.

At a well-attended public hearing on the ordinance last week, those who spoke opposed it because they believe it is too restrictive for continued mining and logging activities.

The intent of the ordinance is to prohibit wind project development. Residents overwhelmingly voted about two years ago to ban such projects by refusing to increase the current building structure height from 30 feet to a height that would allow turbines. Most turbines are at least 300 feet tall.

However, many now believe that a building height restriction may not govern wind turbine development.

Under the ordinance, mining and rock crushing would not be allowed above 1,600 feet. Others are concerned that traditional logging practices may be curtailed or restricted.

The ordinance states that its purpose is to preserve natural and traditional uses, to protect mountains and ridges from deforestation, blasting, road-building and other construction, and to protect the contours of the mountain and ridge tops.

Selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds said at the hearing that if the ordinance is voted down, another reworked document will be presented at a later time.

The four-page ordinance has been reviewed by Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, the town’s Planning Board and Board of Selectmen.