DERBY – The Derby Planning Commission has unanimously recommended that the select board seek party status in the hearings over the Derby Line Wind project.
The commission concluded, after a short debate, that the town should become an “intervenor” in the case before the Vermont Public Service Board. This, in case there are questions that the town would want the developer to answer.
“If you think you are going to have questions two weeks from now, keep the door open,” Chairman Joe Profera said Monday evening. “I’d think they’d want that option.”
Profera said that there probably would be property tax and view implications to the project.
Commissioner Brian Fisher of Derby Line said he agreed with Profera.
Commissioner Dave LaBelle at first was reluctant to discuss the impact. “Let’s kick it back. We don’t have the expertise or time.”
But in the end he crafted the motion that was approved. He cited a section in the town plan that requires the commission to review the impact of on-grid wind turbines on orderly development, view sheds and in sensitive environmental areas.
Select woman Karen Jenne, who attended the commission meeting, pointed out that the turbines are in the source protection area for the International Water Company serving Derby Line Village and Stanstead, Quebec.
The motion approved by the commission stated that the project failed to meet the criteria in the town plan.
Profera said he had read part of the 500-page application to the state by Encore Redevelopment for the Derby Line Wind Project and had come to the conclusion that the commission did not have the expertise to really scrutinize the project.
He characterized the situation as complicated and compared it to the recent debate over whether the town had a say over telecommunication towers.
But he said the town plan required discussion and the select board wanted feedback in time for a special meeting Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the town office to decide whether to intervene.
The select board has until March 7 to request status in the hearings before the Public Service Board in the hearings over Encore’s proposal to erect two industrial-sized turbines on two farm fields in Derby near the Canadian border.
A public hearing conducted by a PSB hearing officer is tonight at 7 p.m. at the Derby Elementary School. Anyone interested can attend and make a statement about the project that may affect the outcome of the hearings.
Written statements to the PSB are also accepted.
LaBelle said that the town should rewrite its bylaws to address where energy projects should be sited.
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