CARATUNK – Residents decided Wednesday night to impose a 180-day halt on any wind power development in order to examine revising the town’s rules regarding wind turbines.
Caratunk has a wind power development ordinance, but residents decided 18-2 to rewrite it. The approximately 20-minute meeting included little discussion, people who attended said.
The meeting happened after about 13 voters signed a petition in favor of the moratorium, planning board member Marie Beane said.
A revised version of the town’s wind development ordinance – which examines setbacks, a decommissioning policy and turbine noise requirements – would ultimately require town approval.
The current rules mandate wind turbines to be located no less than four times the tower height or 1,000 feet – whichever is greater – from the nearest occupied building, Beane said.
“The moratorium gives us a chance to really think about how does this really affect our neighbors, and are we really prepared for what’s going to come here?” Beane said.
She said the six months will allow residents to provide their input to the planning board.
“The more information from everybody, the better,” she said.
Howard Trotzky, a part-time resident of Caratunk who does not vote there, said he does not want wind towers to disrupt the town’s peaceful rural nature.
“It’s a treasure to the state of Maine,” he said. “No one is really sure what all these wind turbines are going to do to the area … Caratunk’s sitting up here as the next one in line.”
A partnership involving Pittsfield’s Cianbro Corporation has been testing the wind in Moscow and Caratunk.
Several other companies are examining whether to install wind farms on hills in nearby Bingham, Highland Plantation and Mayfield, Lexington and Concord townships.
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