PERU – Wind power is a “hot potato in this town right now,” the chairman of the Board of Selectmen said at Monday night’s meeting.
Tim Holland said because of confusion about the effective date of the industrial wind power development moratorium, which was passed last fall, the board missed the April deadline for extending it another six months.
Selectmen approved the moratorium Oct. 3, 2011. Voters adopted it Nov. 8, 2011, with a clause stating it was retroactive to Oct. 3.
Wind Ordinance Committee member Warren Oldham accused selectmen of dropping the ball on the moratorium renewal and Holland agreed. Selectmen didn’t know whether to use the October or November date to start the count of the 180 days, Holland said.
MMA advised Nov. 8 was the effective date and the town could pass another 180-day moratorium at the annual town meeting referendum in June and make it retroactive to April 1.
After the Nov. 8 vote, the town established a Wind Ordinance Committee to draw up regulations for wind power projects. The move came after EDP Renewables North America LLC of Houston, Texas, received a permit in October 2011 to place a meteorological test tower off Black Mountain Road near the Sumner town line. The company considered building 25 to 35 turbines, a representative told the committee in February.
Also at Monday’s meeting, selectmen reviewed letters from MMA and Eaton Peabody law firm on the wording of a straw poll on wind power for the June referendum.
MMA said the wording was leading; Eaton Peabody offered an alternative to the committee’s proposal. The issue was tabled until next week’s board meeting when Wind Ordinance Committee Chairman Bill Hine is present.
Holland, who is an Oxford County Sheriff’s deputy sergeant, also was accused Monday of failing to report to authorities a break-in at the old school and not securing the building. He said he didn’t check the building as a deputy, and didn’t think there had been a break -in.
In other business, the board denied a building permit for a walkway and steps for a home on Green Woods Road because the modification would be within 50 feet of Worthley Pond.
Selectmen approved a permit to revegetate to prevent erosion on town property off Dickvale Road.
Dan Bernard was given approval to add second-floor bedroom to his home on Auburn Road.
The board also:
* Signed the warrant for the June annual town meeting referendum;
* Signed a letter of support for Community Concepts in order for that agency to receive grants for building homes for needy families; and
* Agreed to support the River Valley Fourth of July fireworks by placing donation jars in the Town Office.
Resident Tammy Ferland asked that people bring items for the food pantry to the June 3 public hearing on the June town meeting referendum and to the referendum. Selectman Ed Ferland said 128 people have been using the food pantry and the pantry could use the help.
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