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Wind turbine ordinance passes overwhelmingly

PHILLIPS – Residents voted 32-9 on Thursday to adopt an ordinance that allows the town to govern where wind turbines are located in town, interim Town Manager Elaine Hubbard said Friday.

The ordinance, which is effective immediately, sets guidelines for the turbines for both commercial and residential use.

Voters adopted a six-month moratorium on wind turbine installations in February to allow time for the Planning Board to develop an ordinance to govern them.

There was good discussion from both sides of the issue at the special town meeting, Hubbard said.

“Members of the Planning Board worked very hard on this ordinance and very professionally. They sought outside sources in order to gain information in order to make sure this ordinance is correct and appropriate for the town of Phillips,” she said.

The board established a formula to figure out how far a turbine, depending on sound level, safety and other factors, would have to be from a property line. A turbine with a maximum sound level of 70 decibels must be 211 feet from a property line. One with a maximum level of 115 decibels must be 37,584 feet, or about 7.1 miles, from a property line, according to the formula.

Planning Board member Dain Trafton, who has done a lot of work on wind power, has been asked to speak on local and commercial wind power during the Androscoggin Valley Council of Government’s Planning Day on Oct. 21 in Auburn, Hubbard said.

That’s a big honor, she said.

[Click here to download a copy of the ordinance.]