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Wind regulation petition accepted

DIXFIELD – Selectmen accepted a petition that could regulate wind power projects, if approved by residents at the annual town meeting.

About 185 people signed the petition that Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky is sending to the Maine Municipal Association for review.

The petition’s validity, as determined the MMA, will decide whether it is placed on the May 26 annual town meeting ballot, Skibitsky said.

The article asks, “Shall the town discuss options and methods of producing and implementing regulations for industrial wind power projects and all associated infrastructure with such projects as contained within the town boundaries?”

It further states, “If such article passes to allow discussion, discussions can and shall be allowed to bring forth options for determining methods of producing and implementing industrial wind power regulations which shall be voted on at said meeting.”

The petition was presented to the board Monday night by Dan McKay.

Skibitsky said he is uncertain whether the petition calls for an ordinance since that word was not used.

The town does not have a wind ordinance at this time. Patriot Renewables LLC, Boston, Mass., has proposed construction of a $60 million wind farm on the Colonel Holman ridgeline.

The board also chose longtime volunteer Hugh Daley as Distinguished Citizen of the Year from a field of three nominations. Daley is a former selectman, keeps the cemeteries mowed, and helps many people on his own time.

Daley will be honored at the annual town meeting.

In other matters, the board set a special workshop meeting for 5 p.m. May 4 to revamp the town’s current building permit ordinance. Right now, any project of $500 or more is subject to the same fee. A new ordinance would call for a fee based on the the value of the proposed project.

Skibitsky said tentative plans call for having a proposed ordinance ready for voters’ action on May 26.

Also on Monday, selectmen:

* Agreed to recognize Towle’s Hardware’s 100th anniversary in June by taking out an advertisement in the company’s flier.

* Invited Central Maine Power Co. to make a presentation at the May 23 board meeting on Smartmeters.

* Accepted the resignation of Planning Board member Mike Peters and appointed alternate member, Tom Childs, to the position. The board is now looking for a volunteer to serve as alternate member on the Planning Board.

* Hired R.H.R. Smith and Co. of Buxton to conduct the town’s annual audit.