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Rumford selectmen ready to begin writing third wind ordinance

RUMFORD – Selectmen set Thursday, Aug. 11, as the first of what will likely be several meetings to devise a new wind power ordinance.

A special meeting set for 6 p.m. to appoint a town attorney for the year will immediately be followed by a workshop on the ordinance, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said.

At the board’s regular meeting Thursday night, selectmen unanimously voted to use the proposed ordinance that was defeated at referendum in June as the template. Another proposed ordinance, defeated at referendum in November 2010, as well as ordinances from other municipalities will be used as references, Puiia said.

Public comment will be allowed at the beginning and end of the workshop, but not during the workshop itself. Also, the board would like comments put in writing, if possible, and left at the town office or at the beginning of the workshop.

Once the Board of Selectmen has a rough draft of an ordinance, expected within a few workshop sessions, the Planning Board will be included in future ordinance meetings.

The only exceptions to the ban on public comment during the workshop sessions will be if a special guest with additional information is invited to the session. This could include representatives from the State Planning Office, the Department of Environmental Protection or First Wind.

The Massachusetts wind development company has proposed construction of about a dozen industrial turbines on Black Mountain and two adjacent mountains.

The first defeated ordinance was believed by many to be too restrictive, while the second one was thought to be too liberal.

Puiia said the town would like to have a third proposal in place by the November elections, but that action is not mandatory. The town is currently has a moratorium on wind turbine construction until January 2012. It could be extended if necessary, Puiia said.

The Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments will likely review the proposed ordinance once it is completed. Then public hearings will be held prior to a vote by residents.