RUMFORD – Wind turbine sound, safety setbacks and operational licensing were the major topics discussed at Thursday night’s wind power ordinance workshop by selectmen.
The board has until Sept. 29 to draft their third attempt at a wind ordinance, if it plans to present it to voters on the Nov. 8 ballot. If unable to do so, residents would most likely have to wait till June 2012 to vote on it.
Selectman Jermey Volkernick, who took issue with trying to rush a wind ordinance to the voters by November, was absent Thursday night.
The operational license was the first item that was discussed with three concerns from Selectman Greg Buccina. Language to allow ongoing monitoring of a wind project, both pre- and post-construction, was discussed.
Buccina also suggested hiring a wildlife biologist for a pre-construction study of the area and also to allow a continuing study for up to three years after the wind turbines are in operation.
Erosion control was brought up because of recent concerns over flooding during Tropical Storm Irene and the effects of how a logging project could have factored into the destruction caused by the storm surge.
“I think we should take care of concerns ahead of time instead of dealing with issues after the fact,” Buccina said.
Selectmen Brad Adley and Jolene Lovejoy said they believed there were already regulations with the state Department of Environmental Protection concerning erosion.
Selectman Jeff Sterling informed the board that the Board of Environmental Protection voted 5-4 to drop the decibel level of wind turbines from 45 to 42 from 7 p.m to 7 a.m. The regulation has to be passed by lawmakers before it goes into effect.
“If we went with DEP on sound decibels and it gets voted in, we are on the same page, and if it doesn’t, then we are more stringent,” Buccina said.
Lovejoy addressed how every committee is different and that’s why an ordinance needs to vary from committee to committee.
“We can’t have the same set standards as DEP,” Lovejoy said.
A resident mentioned hiring a unbiased acoustical engineer for a study on the matter.
Safety setback items were also slimmed down in the ordinance. Initially, the ordinance had language that included setbacks for property lines and residential lines. Selectmen agreed to do away with the residential line language and only have a property line restriction.
The safety setback language was changed to require a wind turbine to be 4,000 feet from a property line.
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