Town taxpayers and voters will receive a wind power survey soon that looks like a section of a survey the town conducted in summer 2007.
During a work session on Wednesday night, the Town Council agreed unanimously to send out a one-page, six-question survey that asks similar questions to the original 10-question survey.
The original survey launched controversy as some people in the town claimed it was confusing.
Two questions on that survey asked residents how far from the waterfront, village of Chaumont and hamlets turbines should be placed. Their options were: 1,500 feet, 3,000 feet, 4,500 feet and “not near” those areas. “Not near” was tallied as farther than 4,500 feet, although it does not give a specific distance.
On the revised survey, a similar question has an answer of a setback greater than 4,500 feet and an option for nowhere in the town.
“You want to replicate the prior survey as closely as you can here,” said Paul G. Carr, who helped design the original survey. “If people answer the first question that they don’t want turbines in the town, you don’t want to disenfranchise those people by not having them complete the survey.”
Scott C. Discount, Three Mile Bay, said without the negative option for those questions, the survey would be confusing.
“You have to have an option that’s not in favor,” he said.
The survey includes a map of the town, with areas designated by letters and numbers. The only options for support of turbines will be in two areas northeast of Route 12E.
Councilwoman Anne M. “Boo” Harris wanted all of the town sections included.
“This will affect the whole community of Lyme,” she said. “We’re all going to see them and have the impacts of them.”
Councilman Warren A. Johnson disagreed.
“We’ve all agreed that the agricultural area is where the town would have them, if we’re going to have them at all,” he said. “I hate to see us go backward in determining where the turbines are.”
The survey would also ask respondents to disclose in what area they live, so the council could look not just at the results from the entire town, but also from that section.
The town’s moratorium is due to expire, so the council wants time to tabulate the surveys, work on a new law and hold public hearings before that date.
Members of the Environmental, Health and Safety Committee and the Wind Economics Committee volunteered to help the council use the tax rolls and voter registration list to ensure each taxpayer and voter receives just one survey.
They and other volunteers will assemble to create the mailing list at 7 p.m. June 29 at the Three Mile Bay Fire Hall.
The Environmental, Health and Safety Committee will tabulate the results of the survey.
The council also discussed the committees’ reports and shared concerns about them. The reports, created to help town residents decide where they stand on the survey questions, will soon be available in public places in the town, such as the library and town offices, and on the town’s website.
Some council members thought the reports leaned to a position against wind.
“In your references, it appears to talk more on the drawbacks of wind than on the benefits,” Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said. “I’ve got references right here that talk about the benefits.”
Mr. Carr, co-chairman of the Environmental, Health and Safety Committee, said the committee did a thorough and honest job.
“We have 95 references and there is a great deal more available on the negative impacts of wind turbines,” he said. “I would take offense to an implication that we ignored it and you didn’t give it to us.”
Peter J. Rogers, chairman of the economics committee, asked where Mr. Aubertine had found his references.
“I found them on the Internet in about 20 minutes last night,” Mr. Aubertine said.
“I can show you how to grow hair on my head on the Internet,” the balding Mr. Rogers said.
Three of the 14 committee members sent letters to the council, outlining opposing views to the final report. The council debated publishing those letters with the committee reports, but opted against it. The concerns of Julia E. Gosier, chairwoman of the environmental committee, had been addressed, Mr. Carr said and she agreed.
“If you will use them, then every member should be able to submit letters,” Mr. Discount said. “These reports are what you charged us to do as a group, not individually.”
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