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New Portland enacts wind ordinance  

The rules limit wind turbines to less than 200 feet in height and prohibit any that require lighting. Setbacks are determined based on a formula that considers turbine height, sound levels and the number of turbines.

The ordinance requires a developer to complete a shadow flicker study that examines the area within a 2-mile radius of any turbine. It prohibits turbine blades that glint in the sun.

Credit:  By Erin Rhoda, Staff Writer, Morning Sentinel, www.onlinesentinel.com 4 March 2012 ~~

NEW PORTLAND – Residents voted to borrow money for a new grader, pay down debt and enact a wind-facility ordinance at their annual Town Meeting on Saturday.

They also decided neither to approve money for a survey of Hancock Pond Road, nor to make the town clerk position an appointive one.

About 45 people filled the fire station’s community room for the three-hour meeting, in which residents approved raising about $446,270 in taxes to fund the 2012 budget.

The amount is about $2,500, or 0.5 percent, more than last year’s. It does not include the amount that will be taken from designated accounts or surplus.

In the bid for a selectman’s seat, Chairman Doug Archer beat Polly MacMichael, 61-49, in election voting Friday.

Alicia Wills is the new town clerk, winning with 69 votes. John Bertl received 19; Donna Stout, 27. Becky Taylor did not seek re-election.

A proposal by selectmen to raise $6,000 to survey Hancock Pond Road drew comments from some residents who said it wasn’t needed.

Road Commissioner Gary Agren said it’s important to know where the town’s right of way is so the town doesn’t encroach on someone’s land when doing road work.

“I realize $6,000 is a lot of money, but at the same time this will gain us knowledge beyond a shadow of a doubt to know where the road boundaries are,” Agren said.

Resident Brenda Stevens said people who live on the road aren’t pressing for a survey.

“This is not a bus route, and some of the other roads that need our attention are bus routes,” she said. “Where is the sense of urgency?”

Residents ultimately sided with the Budget Committee and voted not to raise any money for the survey project.

Residents later voted to borrow up to $65,000 for a new grader, and they approved $10,000 for a reserve account for future grader replacement.

Voters decided to keep the town clerk position an elective one.

Selectmen had argued that allowing them to appoint a person to the position would have granted them authority to determine when the town clerk works at the Town Office.

“Currently, for an elected position, there is no state statute that regulates the amount of hours your town clerk has to have office hours,” Town Manager Stacie Rundlett said. “We’ve heard from the townspeople that that’s a problem for them.”

The town has a recall procedure for elected officials.

Selectman Andrea Reichert said she originally had reservations about the position becoming an appointive one, but “to me the upside outweighs the downside in that as a community, we’re going to have a lot more service from the clerk’s office.”

Resident Dallas Landry said, “I personally hate to give up my vote.”

Another resident suggested the town wait to make a decision until voters can see a job description for the town clerk’s position.

Residents then voted down the proposal to let selectmen appoint the town clerk.

Voters next enacted a wind-energy facility ordinance, though there are no proposed wind-energy projects for the town.

“The ordinance is really for the protection of property owners,” resident Nora West said. “It’s not preventing wind towers. It’s giving them parameters.”

The rules limit wind turbines to less than 200 feet in height and prohibit any that require lighting. Setbacks are determined based on a formula that considers turbine height, sound levels and the number of turbines.

The ordinance requires a developer to complete a shadow flicker study that examines the area within a 2-mile radius of any turbine. It prohibits turbine blades that glint in the sun.

Residents also voted to take $110,500 from surplus and designated fund accounts to pay off loans for a firetruck and the Town Office construction.

Amendments by MacMichael – to put no money into a firetruck replacement account or a gravestone maintenance account – were defeated.

Residents approved $119,213 for administration, $22,857 for the ambulance service, $121,160 for summer roads, $198,000 for winter roads, $37,887 for Fire Department operations, $3,500 to produce the New Portlander newsletter and $3,500 for the New Portland Community Library.

Source:  By Erin Rhoda, Staff Writer, Morning Sentinel, www.onlinesentinel.com 4 March 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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