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Dixfield board puts wind ordinance on June 9 ballot

DIXFIELD – The Board of Selectmen voted Monday evening to approve the Wind Energy Facility Ordinance for the June 9 ballot, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said Wednesday.

It will be the third time in three years the ordinance has come to a public vote.

Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., asked Dixfield officials three years ago about building 13 wind turbines on Col. Holman Mountain. It is conducting wind tests, bird studies and environmental impacts on the ridge.

Residents approved an ordinance in November 2012 to regulate wind development projects. In early 2013, selectmen voted to have the Planning Board strengthen it and amend some language. In August 2014, voters approved a six-month moratorium to allow time to complete the revisions and extended it another six months in January.

The Planning Board brought its recommendations to selectmen, who made revisions and put it on the November 2014 ballot. The article called for repealing the original ordinance and adopting the amended version. Voters rejected it, 553-567.

That prompted selectmen to remove the amendments they made and put the Planning Board’s draft on the June 9 ballot.

However, some residents said they wanted to see the town go back to the language of the original ordinance, which set the nighttime decibel level at 42 instead of 35.

The Board of Selectmen decided to have the Planning Board revisit the decibel level, but planners decided March 19 to stick with the 35-decibel limit, Puiia said.

In other business, selectmen voted to approve a $355,000 Police Department budget for the June 9 ballot. It’s $12,402 more than this fiscal year, Puiia said.

The town will carry forward $45,356 it saved over the past three years to pay for the police officer position that has been funded by a COPS grant.

“The grant has paid for three years of a fifth police officer, and now, we’re in that fourth year, when the town is responsible,” Puiia said. “The town has put aside money over the last three years to cover the cost.”