DIXFIELD – Opponents of the proposed wind turbine facility said Wednesday night that they are planning an informational session for next week that will show how turbines appear from the air.
Dan McKay and Fremont Tibbetts were the only two people attending the town’s second public hearing on proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments that would be aligned with the proposed Wind Energy Facility Ordinance.
Voters will decide the fate of both the proposed wind ordinance and Comprehensive Plan amendments during the general election on Nov. 2. Voters will also decide whether to ban wind development townwide on another ballot question submitted by Tibbetts and McKay. That petition-forced question would also ban virtually all other development starting at 1,000 feet elevation, as well.
The amendments essentially ban wind turbine construction in the western section of town, which includes Holman and Sugarloaf mountains, and allows such development in the eastern section which includes the Colonel Holman Mountain ridge. The ridge is the location of a planned 13-turbine development by Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., on leased land.
The proposed wind ordinance calls for a minimum setback of 4,000 feet from occupied residences, and sets decibel levels at 45 at night and 55 during the day.
Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said John Maloney of Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments devised the Comprehensive Plan amendments after reviewing the proposed wind ordinance.
The proposed amendments protect the scenic area of Holman and Sugarloaf mountains from turbine construction, but everything else would be considered on a case-by-case basis, Skibitsky said.
McKay said wind-turbine development has been approached on a town-by-town basis, which means some may not see the overall impact such development could make. Plans for wind turbine developments are in varying stages in Carthage, Rumford, Canton, Roxbury and Woodstock as well.
“Other towns will also see them,” McKay said.
Tibbetts, who flew over existing turbines on Kibby Mountain in Franklin County, said such development is “making people big money that are putting them up.”
“No one will realize what we have as a jewel in this area,” he said.
Board Chairman Bettina Martin said the town started talking about windmills more than a year ago.
“The people in the town have to decide what they want. We want an ordinance passed that will protect the town,” she said.
McKay said a meeting to show the appearance of wind turbines from the air has been tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 27, at a place to be determined.
Tom Carroll of Patriot Renewables, has planned a public informational session for Thursday, Oct. 28, at a place to be determined.
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