SUMNER – A committee working to create an ordinance to regulate wind development agreed Saturday that only one application at a time should come before the town’s Planning Board.
Members of the Wind Ordinance Committee liked member Larry O’Rourke’s suggestion to allow such applications on a first-come, first-served basis.
“I can’t imagine getting three or four of these at the same time,” he said.
“God help us if that happens,” Chairwoman Kathy Emery said.
They also debated making a developer go through the Planning Board process to erect a meteorological tower.
Later, Emery explained why they were spending so much time on the safety the section.
“I honestly think that what we are trying to accomplish and finish right now, this is going to be the most difficult,” she said. “I am very happy with what (Rumford’s wind ordinance) included, as far as the safety.”
Emery said she was confident that members of subcommittees working on other sections of the ordinance would craft condensed and working language to protect townspeople.
“Yes, we are behind; yes, we’ve got a lot of catchup to do,” Emery said. “Yes, this is a complicated, huge chunk of it, but it’s imperative that this is done right.”
The committee was trying to retrofit and meld portions of Sumner’s Subdivision Ordinance and Rumford’s wind ordinance into the town’s proposed Industrial Wind Energy Facility Ordinance.
That ordinance is expected to be completed in time for a public hearing seven days prior to April 18. That’s when a special town meeting will be held to vote on the new law, Emery said.
With facilitator James McCarthy moderating, the group began with a round-the-table sharing of thoughts.
Committee member John Allen said he agreed with member Lana Pratt that language in the latest wind ordinance draft was confusing.
“I read the whole thing through and made quite a few changes and Lana thinks we could make even more,” Allen said. “We haven’t finalized this yet.”
Member Jeff Pfeiffer said he, too, was confused by the language. He suggested creating a time line of what happens during the application process “before we plunge into the text.”
It would be good to have a quick overview, Pfeiffer said, “because I found myself having to do that in small ways just to understand the process.”
Emery said the committee has already approved everything they did up to Thursday night’s meeting. That’s what they’re presenting to selectmen on Tuesday, Feb. 14.
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