Planning Board listens to resident's questions on wind ordinance

Matthew Daigle/Staff Writer

Resident Alice McKay-Barnett shows the Planning Board on Thursday night a map of Dixfield and the effect that wind turbines would have on their property values.

DIXFIELD — The Planning Board fielded questions from the public Thursday night before continuing to its workshop on the latest draft of the town's wind power development ordinance.

During the unscheduled board workshop Jan. 3, Chairman Tom Childs told the public they would have to save their questions for the Jan. 17 board meeting. Several residents attended to discuss concerns about specific areas of the ordinance.

“Before anyone speaks, I'd ask that we try to keep the discussion to around 30 minutes,” Childs said, “and when each person speaks, try to keep it to 10 minutes or less. We have a lot to go over here, but I want to be fair and let you speak.”

Resident Alice McKay-Barnett brought a series of maps displaying setback data and passed them to board members. She said new studies have been released for Spruce, Saddleback and other mountains that found by setting back the wind turbines 4,000 feet from a residence, there are still decibel levels between 42 and 45, as well as the opportunity for debris from the turbine to cause property damage.

“There are reports in California of turbines sending debris flying up to 4,200 feet,” McKay-Barnett said. “There's been reports of blade failure and turbine fires.”

Resident Dan McKay added there are limited studies being done that prove that the sounds produced by a turbine can be felt up to 2 miles away at low frequency levels.

“I don't want to be reading my newspaper in the morning, hearing a sound and constantly wondering what it is,” McKay said.

McKay-Barnett also presented a handmade map documenting the effect wind turbines would have on property values.

“Good luck trying to sell your house with a turbine behind you,” McKay-Barnett told the board. “People have been saying we have a depressed market right now, but with views like we have in Dixfield, we'd never have a problem selling. The turbines would decrease the value of our property.”

Planning Board member Craig Coulthard asked McKay-Barnett if she had studies and documented proof to back up her concerns,

“Yes," she said. "I'll clean up my act here and get all that information to you.”

Resident Norman Mitchell told the board he researched “points of contention between the wind ordinance and the town's Comprehensive Plan.” He said there needs to be continuity among all town ordinances.

One area Mitchell pointed out in the Comprehensive Plan is where it states that turbines must measure setback distance from property lines, not the actual residence.

“If these wind companies are measuring the setback distance from the dwelling, you're allowing the company to take property from you,” Mitchell said. “If I own land, my son would never be able to build a house on it.”

As an example, Mitchell pointed out that historically, certain private property, such as junkyards and graveyards, require setback distances from the property line and not the dwelling itself.

McKay told the board that in November 2010, the town had an opportunity to vote on changes made to the Comprehensive Plan, but voted not to make them.

“You'll either have to do a re-vote on the Comprehensive Plan, or make sure that the wind ordinance fits the guidelines stated in the Comprehensive Plan,” McKay said.

The Planning Board will meet Feb. 7 but there will be no public participation, Childs said.

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Hart Daley's picture

One of those mornings

Patriot Renewables LLC post on their own website that people living in quiet rural areas, in the winter, enjoy a serene 18 - 28 Dba. This morning when I went outside to let out the dogs, no wind was stirring, the sky was cobalt blue and it was "One of those morning" when the silence was incredible. On these mornings, and there are many, I can hear tractor trailers coming off the top of Morrison Hill 2.5 miles away as I stand on my back deck. I live 1 mile from the peak of Colonel Holman Mountain and I can see the entire ridge from North to South, unobscured. I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to listen to 42 Dba to 55 Dba ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. I understand why people would want to move as far away as possible from these turbine nightmares, even abandoning homesteads that have been in their families for multiple generations. Yes, today was "One of those (18 Dba) mornings" and I hope to live out my life enjoying many many more. Enforce stricter noise regulations and setback distances regarding industrial wind projects. Protect your families, friends and neighbors from this uneccessary onslaught.

 's picture

property values

There are numerous reports of ABANDONED properties when people moved out , unable to sell their homes. A wind company was ordered by a judge to buy out 11 homes in Australia when the residents couldn't stand the noise and low frequency vibes. Wind turbines not only depreciate property values, they can and do render the properties unsellable. I think the hysteria for windsprawl has passed, and Maine needs to look long and hard at the facts. Maine does not need it, it 's not in our best interests, and if the developers want easy money , they may play the lottery or go to Vegas.

 's picture


Pieces of blade are documented as travelling up to one mile

 's picture

Studies in this country also

Studies in this country also show loss of property values in dwellings located close to these industrial towers. Any ordinance should specify the setback to be from the property line, not the dwelling, unless the town or wind developer is prepared to make restitution for loss in usable property area and loss of property value. A moratorium should be enacted state wide until our legislative members can educate themselves on industrial wind, including the serious health effects of infrasound on all mammals. Our own military once considered using infrasound as a weapon until they discovered it was too risky to those deploying the weapon. Lawsuits will crop up wherever these monstrous machines are erected and they will stand as tokens of our incredible gullibilty and ignorance twenty, forty, sixty years from now as they rust slowly into oblivion.

 's picture

4200 foot debris scatter...blade failure


Pieces of blades have been documented as traveling over 4,200 feet.

 's picture

sound modeling maps

this link should take you to 7 sound modeling maps the developer used in their applications at DEP. Notice 4000 = 45Dba unacceptable....every ordinance should have at a minimum set-back 4000 feet from property line.

 's picture

I only hope

it is not too late for application for a permit from Patriot Renewables could be put in DEP at any time. Patriot Renewables claims they have bird studies done on Colonel Holman and want to use them for Canton Mountain too.

Dixfield, please put a moratorium in place.

Norman Mitchell's picture

Misinformation Correction

First I thanked them for their effort and knew what they where up against having served on the Planning Board over a period of 15 years . I did point out what i saw a s problems with the comp plan witch where size and scope of business, business locations, Noise , light, natural impact etc and that there must be continuity among all ordinances in the town that all other ordinances that govern buildings and business operations require setbacks to be from property lines not the actual residence . I also told them that every other town in Maine that has a wind farm built by Patriot renewable has issues and these towns are writing after the fact ordinances . "One area Mitchell pointed out in the Comprehensive Plan is where it states that turbines must measure setback distance from property lines, not the actual residence." there is nothing in the comp plan about this !! This has been an ongoing problem in Dixfield bad reporting !!!!

Norman Mitchell's picture

another thing

I told them that no one in this town should be considered expendable !!


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