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NEW GLOUCESTER — A public hearing Tuesday on a proposed Wind Energy Conversion Ordinance drew three members of the public to a 45-minute clarification session.

State Rep. David Van Wie, D-New Gloucester, praised the efforts of a citizen volunteer committee that developed the proposed document using models from other towns and the state to find a fit for New Gloucester.

“Nobody’s got this really right yet,” Van Wie said.  “Your wording is as good as we can get for a local level (effort),” he said.

The ordinance aims to reduce dependence on fossil-fuel energy sources by encouraging the development of on-site energy production and consumption by providing standards for wind-power systems.

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The conversion provisions aim to protect the public health and safety and promote the welfare of the community while preserving wildlife habitat, fisheries and unique natural areas in a harmonious fit with the fabric of the town, with the least possible regulation.

The town’s code enforcement officer would govern review and approval of minor applications systems, those that include fewer than four wind turbines and which generate no more than 100 kilowatts combined.

All major applications for wind systems require review by the Planning Board. Those applications are for systems greater than three wind turbines that generate more than 100 kilowatts combined.

All Wind Energy Conversion Systems shall be set back a minimal horizontal distance of 1.1 times the total height of the system from property lines, public rights of ways and easements.

The systems’ tower and blades shall be of non-reflective color and the systems shall be designed and located to minimize negative visual impacts on significant designated resources. Exterior lighting on any tower or turbine shall not be allowed, except that which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Planning Board will send the proposed ordinance to the Board of Selectmen to place it on the May 3 town meeting warrant.

 

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