Petition filed in Sedgwick asking for wind power development moratorium
Credit: By BETTE BRITT, The Weekly Packet, www.weeklypacket.com 23 September 2010 ~~
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Requesting a secret ballot referendum vote on November 2, about 70 Sedgwick citizens have signed a petition that was presented to the selectmen at their regular weekly meeting on Thursday, September 16. The petition seeks to have a moratorium ordinance enacted that would apply “to any wind energy facility consisting of one or more wind turbines, the purpose of which is to primarily generate electricity to supply off-site customers, and included substations, cables/wires, and other structures accessory to such a facility.”
The selectmen were not surprised when Nicole and John Gray brought the petition to them, as the names of those signing it had been verified at the town office earlier. As of September 16, the moratorium ordinance has been available at the office, so voters can review its contents. These clearly differ from an earlier ordinance voted down at town meeting on March 7, 2009. At that time, and in that document, the focus was on telecommunications towers, antennas and wind turbines “in excess of 50 feet in height.”
At the March 2009 town meeting, Gordon Gianninoto, introducing himself by saying he owns “the top of Caterpillar Hill,” spoke of his plan to erect a telecommunications tower on his land. His announcement came after power to the area had been knocked out for 24 hours. Voters, perhaps recalling their feelings of helplessness had it been necessary to call 911, seemed inclined to agree that a cell tower, out of sight atop Caterpillar Hill, was necessary. Their show-of-hands vote signaled they felt no need then for a moratorium.
While concern about “development pressure” was named as a reason for proposed moratoriums in 2009 and 2010, the threat of “suddenly … increased development pressure from wind power developments” is cited as a major reason for seeking a moratorium ordinance now. The proposed ordinance says wind power developments could pose “serious threats to the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Sedgwick through the over-development of parts of town … without adequate provisions for issues of safety, land-use compatibility, and visual access to view corridors.”
On September 16 Nicole Gray said she spoke for one section of town, that nearest the anemometer site off Christy Ridge Road, when she told selectmen, “My neighbors want an ordinance.” She said the equipment is too close to homes with children and called attention to concerns being raised other small Maine towns faced with wind tower projects. The speed with which she said local residents signed the petition left at Eggemoggin Country Store indicated to her that her neighborhood isn’t the only place in Sedgwick concerned about having adequate safeguards in place before wind tower projects appear on the horizon.
Selectmen set Thursday, October 7, at 7 p.m. as the time for a public hearing on the proposed moratorium ordinance. The hearing will take place at the town house.
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