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Temple residents to vote on wind-power moratorium

TEMPLE – Voters at the annual town meeting on March 14 will decide on a six-month moratorium on wind-power development.

It’s not for or against wind power: It’s about taking time to think it through, as a town, both the pluses and minuses of any future development, Robert Kimber said at a meeting on Monday night. Kimber chairs a committee formed to develop a wind-power ordinance for the town.

Voters approved forming the committee during a special town meeting held in December.

There is no specific development plan being considered but some town maps were recently purchased by a Chicago-area firm with interest in a ridge running from Varnum Mountain north. There’s nothing to believe any development is imminent, he said.

It became clear to committee members Monday that their first task is to take the time to explore the options, Kimber said Tuesday. Seeking a moratorium on development for the next few months would allow the committee to work “without being under the gun,” he said.

The six months, which can be extended if needed, provides time to get work done on the ordinance. That work will be completed even if voters don’t approve the moratorium.

Without a moratorium or an ordinance in place, a developer would have to play by the rules that are there but . . .”there are no rules,” he said.

“It leaves the town unprotected,” he said. “It’s crucial we have the time to go through this, work in peace and think things through.”

The committee discussed ways to encourage voters to attend town meeting and grant the time. It’s a yes/no vote that can’t be amended, he said.

The article is not about discussing the factors, including noise, aesthetic views, vibrations, changes in tax base and green energy. Kimber sees those discussions taking place during the ordinance work. He also wants to see specialists brought in to talk to citizens about different aspects of wind-energy development and research completed on what other area towns have already done.

Temple may not be the “sweetest place” for developers to consider with an apparent lack of wind capacity but as technology progresses in the future that could change, committee members agreed.

The committee plans to meet after the town meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on March 28 at the town office.