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Voters face ordinances at town meeting  

Credit:  By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff, Bangor Daily News, bangordailynews.com 28 March 2011 ~~

BLUE HILL, Maine – Voters will face several town ordinances when they gather for the annual town meeting this weekend.

Some of those issues will be on the written ballot during the municipal elections on Friday, while others will be handled during voting on the warrant articles Saturday.

According to Selectman Jim Schatz, the written ballot on Friday will include ordinances dealing with communications and wind turbine towers. The communications tower ordinance would limit the height of towers to 190 feet in order to avoid an FAA requirement to include flashing lights atop the tower.

The ordinance regulating wind turbines limits the height of the towers to 100 feet and sets noise restrictions at the property line, both of which effectively prohibit large wind farm-type development, but still allow smaller and medium size wind power generators.

Also on Friday, voters will decide whether to adopt a tobacco-free ordinance that would establish tobacco-free zones at the town athletic fields and around the town park playground.

The final referendum issue for Friday’s voting would authorize the selectmen to “pursue action” to establish public access to Woods Pond. This has been a long-standing issue, according to Schatz, who said that the town believes it owns a right of way to the pond, but, in the past, has not been able to establish its exact location.

“This would give us an idea of how aggressive we should be in determining our alternatives,” he said.

On Saturday, voters also will tackle the Local Foods and Community Self Governance Ordinance, which seeks to exempt small, local farms from state licensing and inspection requirements when the products are sold directly by the producer to the customer.

A PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, ordinance is on the warrant for Saturday’s session. The ordinance, if approved, would enable residents to apply to the Efficiency Maine program that offers loans for projects to increase energy efficiency in homes.

The selectmen also will ask voters to authorize them to negotiate an agreement for the design and construction of a salt-sand shed to be located at the current site of the salt-sand pile off Route 172 near the fairgrounds. According to Schatz, the selectmen have received an initial estimate of $500,000 for construction of a 3,700-cubic-yard shed. The Maine Department of Transportation has a grant program that would cover about two-thirds of that cost, Schatz said.

The estimated cost of the design is $12,500. Once the design is completed, the selectmen will bring the question of funding for the actual construction back to a town meeting vote, Schatz said.

The overall municipal budget is down slightly, about 0.85 percent at $1.7 million, while the school budget, at $4.4 million is up just over 1 percent. The main factor in the school budget increase, Schatz said, is planned work on the roof of the elementary school.

There are two contested races this year in municipal elections. Incumbent Selectman John Bannister faces a challenge from Randy Astbury. There also are three candidates for two seats on the school committee: incumbents Susan Keenan and Ben Wooten, and Annie Rice.

Elizabeth Stookey and Kenneth Charles are running for the two seats on the planning board.

The polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, at the town hall. Discussion of the warrant articles will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 2, at the school gym.

Source:  By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff, Bangor Daily News, bangordailynews.com 28 March 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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