DIXFIELD – Residents voted 562 to 557 Tuesday to reject an amended Wind Energy Facility Ordinance.
The ordinance was originally approved in 2012, but the Board of Selectmen voted to place it before the Planning Board at the beginning of 2013 for revisions in order to make it stronger. After a year and a half of revisions and discussions, the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen met in August to discuss final amendments.
Amendments made to the ordinance included allowing no wind energy facility unit or system [to] generate sound levels exceeding 35 decibels from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., or 42 decibels from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and increasing the setback for a wind turbine from a nonparticipating parcel’s property from 2,000 feet to 4,000 feet.
Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., approached Dixfield officials three years ago about constructing a 20 megawatt wind turbine project on the Colonel Holman Mountain ridge. The corporation has been conducting research on the ridge, including wind tests, bird studies and environmental impact studies.
Ballot clerk Theresa Hemingway said that over 1,100 voters turn out for Tuesday’s vote, which was more than the 1,045 that turned out for the 2010 gubernatorial election.
“That’s a very high number for a town our size,” Hemingway said.
Hemingway said that more than 100 people also voted via absentee ballot.
Voters were also given a straw poll featuring several questions to vote on during Tuesday’s vote, but Hemingway said that the results of the poll would not be available until Wednesday.
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