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Lyme Town Council approves quick action on comprehensive plan to limit wind

CHAUMONT – The Town Council pushed ahead toward adopting rules restricting wind turbines, even as rancor on the board festers.

During its meeting Wednesday night, the council agreed that changes to the town’s comprehensive plan, a step toward zoning law changes, should be done by its Nov. 9 meeting.

The Planning Board will draft the changes and the council agreed that the board will have access to Paul G. Carr, who compiled the results of the recent town survey; Councilwoman Anne M. “Boo” Harris, who worked extensively on the plan, and Jefferson County Senior Planner Andrew R. Nevin.

The lone vote of dissent on the second resolution was Councilman Donald J. Bourquin, who said the board should have access to whomever it needed. The big push for the deadline was started by Councilman Warren A. Johnson, whose term expires at the end of the year.

“I would like to get a plan moving so I can vote on it before I leave office,” he said.

At a meeting last week, the majority of the council appeared ready to support a zoning law ruling out industrial turbines in the town based on the results of the survey, which showed 64 percent of the 1,621 respondents opposed turbines while 35 percent supported them.

But Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine continues to argue against a ban, saying a portion of the responses, those from seasonal residents, should be excluded.

“Unless seasonal residents claim their summer residence as their primary residence or vote here, I do not think they should have an equal say in the polices and rules that the year-round residents have to live under,” he said Wednesday night. “Legally, you can claim voting rights in one jurisdiction. If you choose to move your registration here, fine, but you can lose exemptions back home.”

The council has received about a half-dozen letters rebuking Mr. Aubertine. Shirley Ann Parker, Point Salubrious, spoke Wednesday night with similar sentiment.

“I wonder if he was elected to represent all the people of Lyme or just a select few plus himself,” she said. “If the summer people are so insignificant, perhaps we should just pay taxes for those months.”

Mr. Aubertine said he will look at the results with Mr. Carr.

“We will be reviewing the wind survey results of the primary residents,” Mr. Aubertine said. “I will abide by those desires.”

“I disagree with your philosophy,” Mr. Johnson said. “All taxpayers are equal. I don’t want to see this government go back to a ‘good ol’ boy’ government.”

Councilman Daniel J. Villa said he had talked with Mr. Carr about the results.

“735 surveys were attributed to year-round residents and 60 percent were ‘no’s,’” Mr. Villa said. “The results were the same.”