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Selectmen continue work on wind ordinance  

Credit:  By Terry Karkos, Sun Journal, www.sunjournal.com 13 April 2011 ~~

RUMFORD – Selectmen will meet at 2 p.m. Sunday in Rumford Falls Auditorium to continue work on a wind ordinance.

They’ve been working on it monthly since Nov. 2 when the town’s first such ordinance widely believed to essentially ban wind-farm development was defeated by a vote of 1,339 to 1,048.

That ordinance was created by the board’s Wind Power Advisory Committee after seven months of research.

Until Monday, selectmen were attempting to draft another ordinance by basing it on the Maine State Planning Office’s wind ordinance template.

At a 90-minute workshop in the municipal building conference room Monday night, a proposition was made to use some of the defeated ordinance’s language, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said.

However, because it was a workshop, no action was taken.

Selectman Jeff Sterling “presented what he thought may be a compromise between the two sides for using part of the Advisory Committee’s draft, and we removed some of the language,” Puiia said.

At Sunday’s meeting, the board will review the changes and what’s been eliminated.

“Outside of definitions, a lot of the setbacks were changed to 2,000 feet from 5,280 feet,” he said. “Again, these are proposals. Some of the sound modeling and sound standards were removed.”

He said the blasting plan section was removed and changed to construction, so it wouldn’t pertain only to blasting.

“The blade glint was removed and the shadow flicker was changed from 30 hours (annually) down to 24 hours,” he said.

All of the changes, including the decommissioning standard, are up for discussion.

Selectmen have said they’d like to put another ordinance before town meeting voters at the June 14 elections.

Should the board be satisfied with the changes or make further changes on Sunday, Puiia said selectmen could vote to put it on the ballot at their next regular meeting Thursday, April 21.

“Of course, a majority of this draft has already been reviewed,” he said, referring to the defeated ordinance.

That, he said, should help shave time to put it before voters. Town law requires one public hearing on an ordinance, so a hearing must be held 10 days prior to the vote and the hearing notice must be posted seven days before the hearing, Puiia said.

If the board can wrap it up, there shouldn’t be a need to extend a moratorium on wind development, which expires in June.

Still, it could happen.

“I explained it as far as you have to have a hearing to extend it, so that may take place in May,” Puiia said. “It’s uncertain now, depending on what progress they can make on this.”

At past board meetings, selectmen have split 3-2 or 2-2 on approving many standards in their proposed wind ordinance, but at Monday’s meeting, Puiia said they all seemed to be OK with the new direction.

“The five were receptive toward working with the document,” he said.

Source:  By Terry Karkos, Sun Journal, www.sunjournal.com 13 April 2011

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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