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Deer Isle voters approve wind power moratorium

By 34-1 vote at a special town meeting on November 23, Deer Isle residents approved a moratorium ordinance on wind turbines that would primarily supply electricity to off-site (commercial) customers. Small turbines for personal use will not be covered by the moratorium. The meeting, moderated by Neville Hardy, lasted approximately 15 minutes.

Hardy referred questions about the ordinance to planning board Chairman Jeremy Stewart, who said that the moratorium was necessary because the town’s existing ordinances did not give the planning board power to regulate such matters as location and noise levels of turbines.

During the 180-day moratorium period, an ordinance committee appointed by the selectmen would prepare a wind power regulatory ordinance that would be presented at a public hearing before going to a town meeting for enactment. One resident asked that meetings of the ordinance committee be publicized so that residents would have more opportunity to participate.

Sandy Cohen said that as an active member of the group Peninsula Power, based in Sedgwick, he supported the moratorium. He said that his group is working to bring community wind power to the area, and that it is helpful to his group for towns to have rules on turbines, and to know what they are.

In response to a question about a possible moratorium on communication (cell) towers—which are not covered by this moratorium—Stewart said “the horse is out of the barn” on that issue, with one such tower already under construction. However, he did not exclude the possibility of such an ordinance in the future.