TEMPLE – An interest in developing an industrial wind farm for Temple may put a wind energy system ordinance adopted by residents in 2012 to the test.
Renewal Energy Systems and a couple of Temple landowners have asked the Board of Selectmen for an informational session to discuss commercial wind farms.
The Board of Selectmen scheduled the session for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, at the Town Office.
RES is an international company that develops larger systems similar to the 12-tower wind farm started by Patriot Renewables in Carthage and a proposed one in Dixfield.
RES has interest in mountain property owned by Robert Thorndike and Larry Carrier, located west of the Intervale.
RES representatives sent a letter to selectmen, saying they were talking with the landowners and wanted to meet with the board, Selectman Jean Mitchell said. RES is aware of the town’s ordinance but also realizes that changes can be made, she said. They are probably also aware the town’s tax base is high. An informational meeting was requested as they “want to get the feel of the town,” she said.
Selectmen have posted a couple of signs but planned to wait until after the holidays to put out a release about the meeting, she said.
As Planning Board members became aware of the session, they met Monday to review the ordinance and discuss what was known about the session.
There shouldn’t be any discussion, Chairman Luke Sheldon said, referring to the adopted ordinance that reflects the wishes of residents not to allow the development of commercial wind systems.
The ordinance is self-explanatory. It states what it is, member John Stewart said.
The company will likely come in to tell residents they have some “golden flowers to plant on the hills and it might be in your best interest,” said Steve Kaiser, a resident and member of the Ordinance Committee.
“Temple has higher taxes but it is worth it,” Kaiser said of living in the small community atmosphere surrounded by mountains. “It could affect the fabric of the community. . . This is a big deal.”
According to the ordinance, any applications for wind systems are reviewed and approved or denied by the Planning Board. The ordinance prohibits a maximum height of over 140 feet as measured from the land to the highest point of the blade in a vertical position.
The towers in Carthage are over 400 feet tall, according to an online description.
The ordinance also states “no more than one wind energy system, with a maximum turbine capacity of 50kW, is allowed per lot.”
It clearly allows for private or community wind energy systems but not industrial ones, Kaiser said.
The town could say “not interested” to RES, or if people have changed their views, an amendment to the ordinance would start with a written petition, Stewart read from the ordinance.
The petition would require “a number of voters equal to at least 10 percent of the number of votes cast in the town of Temple in the last gubernatorial election,” he read.
The petition is followed by public hearings and a majority vote at a town meeting. The process could take a few years, Kaiser said.
People in Temple who attended the moratorium hearings and ordinance hearings were pretty outspoken that they didn’t want it, said board member Barbara Collins.
Members agreed a lot of work was put into the ordinance by several committee members and they were not all against wind projects.
There is nothing for the board to do now, as no applications have been filed. Members did voice a desire for the session to be well-publicized to promote attendance and to keep Temple residents informed.
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