SUMNER – Voters passed a 180-day moratorium on industrial wind power development Monday by a vote of 81-9.
Planning Board Chairman Dan Perron told the standing-room-only crowd at the fire station that they had been approached by an industrial wind developer who plans to put five turbines on Mt. Tom, if the Planning Board approves.
“We can’t stop a legal business, but we can restrict it,” Perron said.
Two previous proposals for wind farms on town property were overwhelmingly rejected.
Planning Board members repeatedly said that without an ordinance, industrial wind developers could do anything they wanted. He said the board needed time to develop an ordinance.
There were concerns about how this would affect residential wind projects and Planning Board member Jeff Pfeifer assured the crowd that the ordinance would only restrict industrial wind power.
Pfeifer said developers can do pretty much what they want right now because there is no law to restrict such projects. He also said he checked with the Maine Municipal Association, and the only way to legally halt big wind development is to vote a moratorium.
“That’s why this is so important,” Pfeifer said.
According to the moratorium, no town board or official can approve an application, plan, permit, license or fee for any wind development during the 180 days. The moratorium can be extended by the selectmen if a working ordinance is not completed in the 180 days.
Perron said the Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, to decide what needs to be done to complete an Industrial Wind Energy Facility Ordinance.
Bill Glass moderated the meeting.
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