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Dixfield board delays vote on wind ordinance  

Credit:  Matthew Daigle, Staff Writer | Sun Journal | January 12, 2016 | www.sunjournal.com ~~

DIXFIELD – For the third consecutive meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted Monday to postpone a vote on whether to place the amended Wind Energy Facility Ordinance on the annual town meeting warrant in June.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the vote was postponed to Jan. 25 because Selectman Norman Mitchell was unable to attend Monday’s meeting.

“The board decided that they’d prefer to make the vote on this issue when they have a full board,” Puiia said. “They also requested that anybody unable to attend the next meeting should submit, in writing, what their view of the ordinance proposal, with the amendments, is.”

He said the written opinion would “not count as an absentee ballot,” but would give the rest of the board an idea of the full board’s opinion.

“With a four-person board, there’s always concern of a 2-2 vote,” Puiia said. “They really believe the entire board should be there for a vote like this.”

The ordinance is the result of Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., approaching town officials in October 2010 about constructing 13 turbines on leased land on Colonel Holman Ridge.

The town passed a wind energy development ordinance in November 2012, but it contained zoning restrictions that were unenforceable. In November 2014, a revised ordinance was rejected. In June 2015, the Planning Board’s original draft was also rejected.

In August 2015, selectmen accepted a citizens’ petition to adopt the sound standards of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, including a limit of 42 decibels at night and 55 decibels during the day, for the ordinance.

Belfast lawyer Kristin Collins was tasked with drafting the latest batch of ordinance amendments.

The board originally postponed the issue at their Dec. 14, 2015, meeting because a selectman was unable to attend. At its Dec. 28, 2015, meeting, Selectman Eugene Skibitsky made the motion to table the vote to Jan. 11 to give the board and residents the chance to review the proposed amendments made by Collins.

In other business Monday, Puiia said Maine Department of Transportation officials told the board it would continue to be responsible for the maintenance of the town’s traffic signal at the intersection of Route 2 and Weld Street.

Puiia said at last month’s board meeting that MDOT offered to replace the signal using federal money, but wanted the town to sign an agreement to take over future maintenance.

Puiia said MDOT officials told him the town had never accepted a maintenance agreement on the traffic signal, and the only cost the town is responsible for is the electricity.

“After a discussion with the DOT, they said that they wouldn’t require the town’s participation in paying for the upkeep of the light,” Puiia said. “They’re still intending to upgrade that traffic light in the near future, but it will continue to be their responsibility.”

The board also accepted a letter from Town Clerk Vickie Carrier announcing her retirement. Her last day will “likely be June 30, or right around there,” he said.

June 30 is the end of the town’s fiscal year.

Source:  Matthew Daigle, Staff Writer | Sun Journal | January 12, 2016 | www.sunjournal.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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