Frankfort residents approved a strict wind energy ordinance by a vote of 244 to 222 at a special referendum election, Thursday, Dec. 1. The single-issue election brought out more than half of the town’s 845 registered voters.
The wind energy ordinance, drafted by a town committee in response to a proposal from Portsmouth, N.H.-based Eolian Renewable Energy to erect four to six wind turbines on Mount Waldo, would require industrial-scale turbines to be set back one mile from abutting property lines, limit noise from the turbines to 35 decibels in the day or 25 db at night (measured at any property within a radius of two miles), and require wind energy developers to put up full decommissioning costs prior to construction.
Though the ordinance allows abutting property owners to sign mitigation waivers, the consensus among members of the committee and representatives of Eolian alike has been that the document would effectively ban commercial wind developments.
VillageSoup left messages for a representative from Eolian, and a representative from the town’s wind energy ordinance committee, both on Friday morning. This story will be updated with comments.
Steven Imondi of the five-member committee that drafted the ordinance said previously that the drafting process was an exhaustive survey of dozens of studies from a wide range of sources with a goal of protecting the health and welfare of the town, and said that in almost every case the committee looked at, complaints were substantially fewer with mile setbacks in place. Imondi said there are around 30 residences within a one-mile radius of the proposed Mount Waldo development.
Eolian previously rebutted each of the the major points of the committee’s ordinance as ranging from inconsistent with state recommendations to being totally impossible, as was argued with regard to the noise requirements.
The company proposed an alternative set of guidelines in the form of contract regulations specific to the Waldo Community Wind project that would have put setbacks at a minimum of three times the tip height of the turbine to any structure. Noise levels would have been limited to 55 decibels at any occupied structure during daytime hours and 45 db at night, shadow flicker would be limited to 30 hours per year and the company would provide a full decommissioning plan, among other requirements.
Eolian, through its website waldocommunitywind.com, argued that the Waldo Community Wind project would bring $100,000 per year in tax benefits to Frankfort, create jobs and be a source of renewable energy.
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