MORGAN – The town of Morgan isn’t waiting for confirmation that a developer wants to put up a large wind turbine in town.
Townspeople voted almost unanimously last week to oppose industrial wind projects at a special meeting called by the select board.
Now, the select board will press for an updated town plan to give the town a say with state utility regulators on siting.
The meeting on July 18 drew more than 100 people who wanted to discuss the potential for renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf to erect wind turbines on his property in Morgan.
Blittersdorf has applied for a small solar project of 500 kilowatts on a hay field off Valley Road. Called Seymour Lake Solar, the project has drawn some town opposition over runoff and other issues. The Vermont Public Service Board conducted a site visit of the property two weeks ago and may call a hearing on the project or could issue a certificate of public good.
Morgan and Holland residents and property owners are concerned that Blittersdorf wants to erect wind turbines on hill-top property in Morgan that would be visible in Holland. He is already planning to seek a certificate of public good for two industrial wind turbines on Kidder Hill in Irasburg, where he also has property and two small wind mills.
Some residents have said that the concern over the wind project potential in Morgan is what is driving the townspeople’s opposition to the solar project.
At the July 18 special meeting, more than 80 people – full and part-time Morgan residents in this cottage community – voted against any wind project in Morgan in a straw vote. Only one supported the idea.
“The meeting sent a clear message to the select board,” Morgan Select Board Chairman Larry Labor said.
“We will request our planning commission members to update and develop specific scenic criteria in our town plan,” Labor stated in an email.
The Public Service Board has stated that it would give substantial deference to a town with a town plan that has certain criteria to protect areas for conservation or other reasons when it comes to siting a wind or other energy project. Towns and regional commissions across the state are updating their town plans to meet this standard.
The town of Morgan will also “await further political developments in the upcoming November elections,” Labor added.
Three of the five top candidates for governor for the Democratic and Republican parties – Republicans Bruce Lisman and Phil Scott and Democrat Peter Galbraith – have said they would ban or oppose industrial-sized wind turbines in Vermont.
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