DIXFIELD – The moratorium on wind power projects came to an end at Monday evening’s selectmen meeting when the board voted 3-1 against extending it for another 180 days.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the moratorium expired at midnight Aug. 10.
Selectman Norman Mitchell voted in favor of extending the moratorium, while Selectmen Aaron Jamison and Eugene Skibitsky and Chairwoman Norine Clarke voted against it.
Selectman Hart Daley was not at the meeting, but Puiia read a letter from Daley in which he stated his support for the moratorium extension.
Puiia said Mitchell made a motion to extend the moratorium for another 180 days.
“As far as I see it, the original necessity for the moratorium still exists,” Mitchell said. “We still have the same flawed (wind) ordinance in effect. We need to consider the fact that people may not decide to go with the DEP rules in November. Then you’ve allowed the wind developers to file a permit with a flawed ordinance.
“That scenario should be considered,” Mitchell said. “The vote may not go the way you wish it will.”
Puiia said Tuesday morning that the moratorium existed to protect the town against a wind developer moving forward with a project while they worked on amending their wind ordinance, and also prevented the town from entering into negotiations with wind developers.
Townspeople in June voted 178-220 against approving the most recent version of the ordinance, which included the state standard for sound limits of 42 decibels at night and 55 decibels during the day.
The ordinance was written after Patriot Renewables of Quincy, Mass., approached town officials in October 2010 about constructing wind turbines on Colonel Holman Mountain ridge. It passed in November 2012, but its zoning restrictions were unenforceable.
In November 2014, an amended version was rejected. In June 2015, the Planning Board’s original draft was also rejected.
Townspeople in November will decide whether they want to rescind the 2012 wind ordinance and adopt the state’s governance of wind turbines.
“After last night’s vote, (Patriot Renewables Project Coordinator) Tom Carroll was asked point-blank if his company was still interested in a wind project in Dixfield, and he said yes,” Puiia said Tuesday. “They have a wind project in Canton in the construction phase, so he said they were still interested.”
Puiia said he believes Patriot Renewables will “wait and see” whether residents vote in November to repeal their 2012 ordinance and go with the state’s governance of wind turbines.
“If the town decides to go with the DEP’s regulations, (Patriot Renewables) will be poised to approach the town about moving forward,” Puiia said.
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