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Dixfield to hold hearing on wind ordinance

DIXFIELD – A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the Community Room at Dirigo High School on repealing the 2012 wind power ordinance and allowing the state to regulate wind power in town.

Voters will decide the issue at the polls Nov. 8.

The Wind Energy Facility Ordinance was written after Patriot Renewables of Quincy, Massachusetts, approached town officials in October 2010 about constructing wind turbines on the Colonel Holman Mountain ridge. It passed in 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 rejected by voters.

In June, townspeople voted 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 that is currently on the books gives the town local control by having a code enforcement officer make sure that (Patriot Renewables) is in compliance,” Town Manager Carlo Puiia said. “When that happens, it places a great responsibility on the community to enforce it. If the DEP governs it, it’s the agency’s responsibility to enforce compliance.”

Residents recently presented a petition to the Board of Selectmen requesting that the sound levels be limited to 39 decibels from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and 52 decibels from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. After seeking legal advice, however, the board was forced to disregard the petition, mainly because of missing language and invalid signatures.