PERU — Selectmen met with the Industrial Wind Energy Ordinance Committee on Monday night and received the committee's draft rules for wind power development projects.
Committee Chairman Jim Pulsifer said his panel wanted to meet with selectmen and the Planning Board on Monday to submit the draft ordinance for approval before it goes to the town for a vote. He said that it would be up to selectmen to enforce the ordinance and the Planning Board to administer the ordinance.
Selectman Ed Ferland said, "Whatever they decide is what we should go with. They have done the research and put in the time." The other selectmen agreed.
EDP Renewables North America LLC of Houston, Texas, received a permit in October 2011 to place a meteorological test tower off Black Mountain Road near the Sumner town line. The company is considering building possibly 25 to 35 turbines, a representative told the committee this year.
The possibility of such a development prompted the town to establish a committee to write regulations governing such projects.
Pulsifer said the draft submitted Monday was approved by his committee, although he personally felt it was too restrictive. He said the primary restrictions in the ordinance were a maximum sound level of 25 decibels at night and 35 decibels during the day; a 1½ mile setback from each wind turbine tower to the nearest nonparticipating land parcel; and a 300-foot maximum height to the tip of the blades.
Pulsifer said he preferred restrictions more in line with surrounding towns. His concern was that, "If we stick a finger in their eye, you are saying 'Come and get us,' and we will be in the forefront to have our ordinance challenged by potential developers."
Committee member Philip Bretz reminded selectmen that one developer said they would not pursue an installation in a town where the people did not want them. He said if they lived up to that statement there should be no challenge to the ordinance. Also residents had clearly voted against wind power at the time they established the ordinance committee and want a very restrictive ordinance. He said there were new technologies which would permit a wind farm in Peru.
Committee member Kevin Benedict suggested they were more likely to face a lawsuit from people "who felt we are not protecting them enough."
Resident Mickey Brean said, "The town has a right to protect itself. There is no ordinance that is not subject to challenge."
The Planning Board will schedule a public hearing on the proposed ordinance before the town vote.