DIXFIELD – Selectmen on Monday unanimously agreed to place a proposed wind ordinance on the June 12 ballot.
The decision came after the rejection of a petition and proposed ordinance presented by Dan McKay, Fremont Tibbetts and several other residents. That ordinance was reviewed by lawyer Lee Bragg, of Bernstein and Shur, who deemed parts of it illegal and vague. Bragg advised the board to reject the petition and ordinance attached to it, which selectmen did.
The ordinance going to voters was written by Selectmen Norine Clarke and Stephen Donahue and declared legal by attorneys, Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said.
“This one is neutral, but it does regulate turbines and protects the health and safety of town citizens,” he said of the 30-page document.
Among the provisions are requirements for decommissioning turbines when their use is complete, setbacks of 4,000 feet from occupied homes, noise levels not to exceed 55 decibels during the day, and 42 at night, and many other detailed requirements.
A public hearing on the ordinance is set for 6 p.m. May 9 at Dirigo High School.
The ordinance was proposed because of plans by Patriot Renewables LLC, of Quincy, Mass., to construct a dozen or so wind turbines along the Colonel Holman Mountain ridgeline.
If the ordinance does not pass, the wind project could still go ahead, providing it follows state requirements.
Tom Carroll, project manager for Patriot Renewables, said he could not comment on the ordinance or how it could affect the turbine project, because he has not reviewed it in detail.
Hart Daley, an opponent of wind turbine development in Dixfield, said after the meeting that he will compare the ordinance with similar ones in other communities.
“I commend the town on its research and for reducing the decibel level,” he said, adding that if the ordinance is passed, it could be amended, if necessary.
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