CANTON – The Planning Board took comments Thursday night on a proposed wind power development moratorium that’s set for a vote Saturday.
The ordinance would prohibit development of such projects for six months, giving the town time to write regulations for wind power developments. The vote is set for 9 a.m. at the old municipal building.
Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., proposes to build eight turbines on Canton Mountain to produce 22 megawatts of electricity. The plan, long-term, calls for linking the project to a substation off Ludden Lane that is being built for the 12-turbine Saddleback Ridge Wind Project in Carthage.
“You people in Canton won’t suffer from your wind farm. It will be the people in East Dixfield and North Jay who are the closest to the project,” Norman Mitchell of East Dixfield told the crowd of approximately 40 people from Canton and surrounding town.
Earlier at the hearing, he read from an article on the importance of having an ordinance. It basically said Canton needed a properly written ordinance to protect the municipality.
Kathy Hutchins, who moderated the meeting, said the Planning Board was paying attention to people’s concerns and had accepted the petition for a moratorium ordinance. She said the Planning Board had let its concerns be known to the wind company about noise and decommissioning.
“We don’t think we need an ordinance,” she said.
Judy Drury of Canton said people needed to inform themselves about wind power and suggested they get online and read all they could so they could make a smart decision Saturday.
Friends of Maine’s Mountains member Alice McKay Barrett of Carthage said Patriot Renewables was not answering people’s concerns about sound and other issues. She said she is 2,000 feet from where the turbines would be installed.
Tom Carroll, outreach coordinator for Patriots Renewables, countered that she was getting false information.
“We do respond to people’s concerns,” he said.
One man said he thought wind projects were driven by money, because the towns getting wind turbines are small and impoverished.
Rob Walker of Canton said it was because those small towns were along the Androscoggin River where the wind currents are.
Carroll said there were two things that wind companies considered when choosing a site. Layout was first and transmission availability was second.
The meteorological tower on Canton Mountain has been operating for more than a year, he said, and indicates there is plenty of wind. He said the company has filed a permit with Maine Department of Environmental Protection and are waiting for approval.
Selectman Donald Hutchins suggested people vote Saturday, not based on how their taxes might be affected, but the other aspects of wind power generation such as sound, flicker and sight.
Hutchins said the town might get a considerable sum of tax revenue from the project the first year, but then the town’s valuation would go up and it would get less for schools.
It was announced that the nuisance hearing scheduled for Friday night has been rescheduled to Oct. 12.
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