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Woodstock rejects wind ordinance panel plan  

Credit:  By ALISON ALOISIO, The Bethel Citizen, www.bethelcitizen.com 31 March 2011 ~~

At Monday’s annual town meeting, Woodstock voters approved a $1.13 million municipal appropriation, and rejected forming a committee to create a wind power ordinance.

They also learned their transfer station may be turned over to private management.

About 90 voters turned out for the meeting, in which they approved all the money articles on the warrant.

The only “no” vote on an article came early on, as voters turned down a citizen-requested article to appoint a committee to create an ordinance requiring a minimum setback distance between an industrial wind turbine and a residential structure.

Denise Hall, the vice president of Friends of Spruce Mountain, proposed the committee. FSM has opposed the planned wind turbine project on Spruce Mountain.

Selectmen said it was their understanding the committee would be restricted to crafting only the setback requirement.

A supporter of such an ordinance, Bob Elliott, spoke at length about it. A setback restriction, he said, would protect people and resources and provide the Planning Board with better guidelines for reviewing future wind projects.

In other parts of Maine, he said, noise from existing wind towers have reduced property values, and that “those people’s lives have been turned upside down.”

Elliott said another potential location for a wind project in Woodstock might be Mollyockett Mountain. The highest elevations of the mountain are located in the southern part of the town, he said.

Maxfield noted that Woodstock is currently represented on a five-town committee working on a common “boilerplate” wind ordinance that could be adapted for use in each town.

But residents voted 46-37 against forming a town committee.

Another ordinance-related article fared better, as voters approved updates that reduced requirements for Shoreland Zoning projects.

Among money articles, residents approved $15,000 to establish a fund to fix the Lake Christopher dam, which leaks. The initial money raised would likely be used next year for an engineering study, selectmen said.

Another $15,000 was approved for the startup in the second half of this year of enhanced mutual fire protection aid with Greenwood.

Under the new fire department program, Woodstock and Greenwood firefighters will share daytime hours on duty. The arrangement was recommended by both towns’ fire chiefs because many volunteer firefighters are out of town for their jobs and cannot respond quickly to fires. Because the program starts in July, the cost is half what it would be annually.

Voters also approved up to $135,000 for a new plow truck and the equipment needed to go with it. The funds will be taken from the Major Highway Equipment Reserve Fund.

Also approved was $112,000 for the G&W Transfer Station, up $4,000 from last year.

During the discussion on the article, a resident asked Maxfield if the town had been talking with Pine Tree Waste company about managing the station in the future.

Maxfield said discussion is currently underway with Pine Tree about such a plan, and the company is expected to bring G&W a proposal in the next two weeks.

He said after the meeting that dealing with the station has become a “headache” for selectmen and town officials. A special town meeting would be called to approve a contract, Maxfield said.

In town elections, Steve Bies was elected unopposed to the selectman’s seat held by Bruce Korhonen, who chose not to run again. Marcel Polak was re-elected unopposed to the SAD 44 School Board, and Sonja Davis and Ed Howe were re-elected unopposed to the Whitman Memorial Library board.

The meeting, which lasted about two hours, was moderated by Steve Wight.

At Monday’s annual town meeting, Woodstock voters approved a $1.13 million municipal appropriation, and rejected forming a committee to create a wind power ordinance.

They also learned their transfer station may be turned over to private management.

About 90 voters turned out for the meeting, in which they approved all the money articles on the warrant.

The only “no” vote on an article came early on, as voters turned down a citizen-requested article to appoint a committee to create an ordinance requiring a minimum setback distance between an industrial wind turbine and a residential structure.

Denise Hall, the vice president of Friends of Spruce Mountain, proposed the committee. FSM has opposed the planned wind turbine project on Spruce Mountain.

Selectmen said it was their understanding the committee would be restricted to crafting only the setback requirement.

A supporter of such an ordinance, Bob Elliott, spoke at length about it. A setback restriction, he said, would protect people and resources and provide the Planning Board with better guidelines for reviewing future wind projects.

In other parts of Maine, he said, noise from existing wind towers have reduced property values, and that “those people’s lives have been turned upside down.”

Elliott said another potential location for a wind project in Woodstock might be Mollyockett Mountain. The highest elevations of the mountain located in the southern part of the town, he said.

Maxfield noted that Woodstock is currently represented on a five-town committee working on a common “boilerplate” wind ordinance that could be adapted for use in each town.

But residents voted 46-37 against forming a town committee.

Another ordinance-related article fared better, as voters approved updates that reduced requirements for Shoreland Zoning projects.

Among money articles, residents approved $15,000 to establish a fund to fix the Lake Christopher dam, which leaks. The initial money raised would likely be used next year for an engineering study, selectmen said.

Another $15,000 was approved for the startup in the second half of this year of enhanced mutual fire protection aid with Greenwood.

Under the new fire department program, Woodstock and Greenwood firefighters will share daytime hours on duty. The arrangement was recommended by both towns’ fire chiefs because many volunteer firefighters are out of town for their jobs and cannot respond quickly to fires. Because the program starts in July, the cost is half what it would be annually.

Voters also approved up to $135,000 for a new plow truck and the equipment needed to go with it. The funds will be taken from the Major Highway Equipment Reserve Fund.

Also approved was $112,000 for the G&W Transfer Station, up $4,000 from last year.

During the discussion on the article, a resident asked Maxfield if the town had been talking with Pine Tree Waste company about managing the station in the future.

Maxfield said discussion is currently underway with Pine Tree about such a plan, and the company is expected to bring G&W a proposal in the next two weeks.

He said after the meeting that dealing with the station has become a “headache” for selectmen and town officials. A special town meeting would be called to approve a contract, Maxfield said.

In town elections, Steve Bies was elected unopposed to the selectman’s seat held by Bruce Korhonen, who chose not to run again. Marcel Polak was re-elected unopposed to the SAD 44 School Board, and Sonja Davis and Ed Howe were re-elected unopposed to the Whitman Memorial Library board.

The meeting, which lasted about two hours, was moderated by Steve Wight.

Source:  By ALISON ALOISIO, The Bethel Citizen, www.bethelcitizen.com 31 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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