March 9, 2011

Wind turbine proposal generates debate at Sedgwick town meeting

Written by James Straub, The Ellsworth American, 8 March 2011

SEDGWICK – The New England tradition of town meeting government was well represented Saturday as citizens enacted local legislation and authorized municipal and school spending for the coming year.

The historic Sedgwick Town House was standing-room-only through most of the meeting, which began at 9 a.m. and ended at 1:15 p.m.

One of the day’s longer debates involved a proposed ordinance that would govern the installation of wind turbines in town.

A motion to table action on the proposed ordinance for another six months to allow residents to further review its content was debated for half an hour before voters overwhelmingly defeated the motion.

First Selectman Neil Davis made the motion to table and said a six-month moratorium on all wind turbines enacted last November could be extended another six months at the discretion of the selectmen.

He and others speaking in favor of tabling the issue said the town would be protected against unregulated wind-power development while the moratorium is in effect, giving residents time to review the proposed ordinance and suggest improvements.

Davis and Selectmen Colby Pert and Victor Smith said they would vote to extend the moratorium before it expires.

Those arguing against delaying a vote said the town needs the local legislation now.

“We need to get something in place,” said Peter Neill, chairman of the committee that drafted the ordinance. “There are two test towers in Sedgwick now. To delay [a vote] to discuss this further is ridiculous. It is a very flexible and open ordinance. I think it is a model ordinance for the state at this point.”

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