Citizen petitions should be citizen positions.
On March 11, Antrim voters will have the opportunity to adopt or reject a proposed ordinance change relative to allowing large-scale wind energy in certain zones in town. As a member of the Planning Board, I have taken seriously our charge to promote “…the health, safety, [and] the general welfare of the community…” (RSA 674:16) in all we do and in adopting or changing zoning ordinances. The proposed citizen petition to change the zoning does not meet that important standard. Since it was written by the developer Antrim Wind, it probably promotes the health, safety and general welfare of that company – but certainly not our community.
At the public hearing we held on this proposed ordinance change, we asked the citizens who petitioned to have this proposal go before the voters to explain the ordinance to those at the hearing. No one volunteered to do that. Our only conclusion was that none of the citizens signing the petition knew what was in the proposal that they had put their name to. That is unfortunate.
When the Planning Board deliberated about this ordinance and voted to not support it, we did so line by line with the substance of the proposal and determined that it does not meet the RSA 674:16 standard to promote “…the health, safety, [and] the general welfare of the community…” Antrim voters should reject this proposal. If we want to move ahead with large-scale wind development in town, citizens should come together with the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen to craft something that meets that important community standard.
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