DIXFIELD – Selectmen unanimously agreed not to amend a proposed wind power ordinance and said developers will have to follow state Department of Environmental Protection regulations.
All this could change, however, if wind development opponents Dan McKay and Freemont Tibbetts are successful in writing an ordinance that gets passed.
Voters last Tuesday narrowly defeated a proposal that would have banned wind projects on Colonel Holman and Sugarloaf mountains because it called for zoning. The vote was 487-543.
McKay said those who voted in favor of zoning, which would have banned turbines, most likely did not want wind development.
“Some are passionately against this and are afraid they have no voice. As we sit now, (projects) will go into DEP hands and they always deny appeals,” he said. “What Freemont and I are considering writing is an ordinance designed to stop the project, particularly on sound issues.”
Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., has proposed constructing up to 13 industrial wind turbines on the Colonel Holman Mountain ridgeline.
“We’re hoping for a vote at the next town meeting in May,” McKay said.
Before deciding to let the DEP take over enforcement of the regulations governing wind power development, selectmen considered whether to recall the Wind Ordinance Committee to clarify the document or to give the Planning Board the original proposed ordinance for clarification.
Selectman Norine Clarke said amending the proposal could make the question clearer on whether a resident wants wind development.
Selectman Steve Donahue, however, said he was officially resigning from the committee. He and Clarke have devoted more than a year to developing the proposed ordinance.
McKay said last week’s vote showed a certain amount of insight.
“It also showed how people feel about zoning,” said Clarke, who added that all parts of town, not just the two mountains, would have to be zoned in some manner.
Once the board decided to let the DEP take over regulation of wind projects, Clarke also resigned from the Wind Ordinance Committee.
Although Selectman Katherine Harvey did not take sides on the wind project, she said, “When I ran I hoped to bring economic development and an increase in the tax base, and to keep our people safe. I wanted economic development with regulation, to look at how we can make it a win-win for both sides.”
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