CANTON — Before a standing-room-only crowd at the Town Office Thursday night, Selectmen Donald Hutchins and Jackie Conant heard a complaint that the Planning Board has failed to provide information about a proposed wind power project on Canton Mountain.
No action could be taken on any matter, because board Chairman Scotty Kilbreth and Selectman Lisa Cummings could not attend and Selectman Shane Gallant, the fire chief, was called to a motor vehicle accident.
Steve Drury read the complaint from his wife, Judy, who was out of town.
"I felt compelled to write this explanation after weeks of frustration evolving around the proposed wind project on Canton Mountain," she wrote. "What began as a simple request to the Planning Board has turned into almost two months of, what feels like, stonewalling by town officials."
Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., proposes to build eight turbines on Canton Mountain to produce 22 megawatts of electricity. The plan, long-term, calls for linking the project to a substation off Ludden Lane that is being built for the 12-turbine Saddleback Ridge Wind Project in Carthage. The project cost is estimated at $44 million.
Drury detailed events going back to the Sept. 20 public information meeting on the project at which she said Planning Board Chairman Kathleen Hutchins promised to provide information still has not.
She further outlined dates and contacts where she had sought information and had been denied, given wrong information or been misled, she said.
After reading the statement, her husband refused to stay and discuss the issue with selectmen, saying the statement spoke for itself.
Donald Hutchins, acting as chairman for the Board of Selectmen, said if Drury would not stay to answer selectmen's questions the matter could not be discussed nor acted upon.
Kathleen Hutchins said that since the statement attacked her actions she should be allowed to defend herself. While not denying all wrongdoing, she said Judy Drury had failed to attend a Planning Board meeting to personally ask for the information. She said emailing her and personally contacting two Planning Board members were not sufficient.
Kathleen Hutchins made it clear that while the Planning Board had approved Patriot Renewables' meteorological tower application using state Department of Environmental Protection guidelines, it has not entered into any other agreements with the developer.
She said the Planning Board is working on a moratorium ordinance that would not allow wind power developments until the town adopts laws regulating them.
In other business at the meeting, the town received bids for a new fire engine. One was for $314,678 for a Spartan Metro Fire Chassis, and the other was for $311,546 for a Rosenbauer Rescue Pumper on a Rosenbauer chassis. Representatives of the two companies and Chief Gallant agreed that a custom chassis was the right choice because it's sturdier and better suited for fire service.