Anti-wind ballot question meets resistance

DIXFIELD — Circulators of a petition that has forced a vote in November that would essentially prohibit wind turbine development on the Colonel Holman Mountain ridge and Sugarloaf Mountain met with resistance at a public hearing Monday night.

Few people attended the hearing, which was required by the petition circulated by Dan McKay and Fremont Tibbetts. Those who did took issue with the restraints they said would go into effect if a majority of residents pass the question Nov. 2.

“I don't think the town should tell the property owners what they can do. They own the land,” Charlotte Collins said.

“The petition is on shaky ground. I'm not for or against wind power. The (proposed) wind ordinance was put together well,” said Richard Pickett, who spoke as a resident and not as police chief.

The question asks whether residents favor zoning the Colonel Holman Mountain ridge and Sugarloaf Mountain starting at 1,000 feet elevation so no commercial or industrial development, except for logging and communication towers, can take place.

Selectman Norine Clarke, who served on the wind ordinance committee, said such restrictions also prohibit any other type of development.

"This bans everything. What about other uses?” she asked. She said prohibitions could include a campground, farm or other commercial use.

Planning Board Chairman David Harvey said he didn't believe zoning for just one item could be done.

“I'm not in favor of this initiative, but of an ordinance to control wind development,” he said.

“Voters do have a right to vote, McKay said. (Two hundred seventy-seven  people wanted to decide on wind turbines and not leave it up to the Planning Board,” he said.

Residents will have a chance to decide whether to adopt a wind ordinance as well as make amendments to the Comprehensive Plan that would be aligned to such an ordinance when they vote in November.

Tibbetts said voters will make a decision on allowing wind turbines, “just not these few people here.”

Prompting the petition and now ballot question is the plan by Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy Mass. to construct up to 13 industrial turbines on the ridge that includes Colonel Holman Mountain on leased land. The property is privately owned.

Patriot also has several other proposed wind farms in various stages of development in Canton, Woodstock and Carthage.

Dixfield voters will decide whether to adopt a wind ordinance that spells out where such development can take place, what the setbacks would be, and other pertinent information on Nov. 2. The wind ordinance committee has been working on it for almost a year while a moratorium on wind turbine development was in effect.

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You people screamed when Roxanne Quimby bought a large chunk and did as she pleased. Many people would be willing to buy the land to keep the turbines away. Getting someone to sell productive timberland is not as easy as some might think. They have had a sweet deal over the years with tree growth tax reductions and other little perks from Augusta. The timberland owners owe the people access to their land because the taxes they did not have to pay were made up by the rest of the taxpayers. The employees work hard for not a lot of money and most if not all still cannot afford health insurance but have MaineCare which again the rest of us pay for. The big landowners are millionaires today and they owe it to the workers who made them rich and they owe the taxpayers for carrying them too. I think letting people use their roads is a small price to pay and there is a law granting legal access to any pond greater than 10 acres. What makes commoncents think anyone can do arything they want? I only own 1 acre and there is zoning which applies to me. When some project affects abutters they should rightly have a say. Windsprawl affects people for miles and should be banned period. Maine doesn't need it.

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Madam Collins

Property rights works both ways. When 400 foot tall eyesores are looming over your property and your home value is depreciated or you can't sell at all, then you have a rights problem. Think about Lincoln. We have zoning which prohibits industrial development in a RR2 zone. No structures over 40 ft. tall. Only utilities are water,sewer, gas lines etc. No generating plants, those belong in the ind. zone. Anyway, with coaching from Bangor lawyers the town disregarded the zone and permitted the Rollins 1 and 2 projects. The env. studies were never done for Rollins 2, they extrapolated from Rollins 1 data. That way they didn't have to count the eagle's nests in Rollins 2. Make no mistake, you folks are under attack by very well prepared scheisters and they want their own way and the money and RECs that will follow. They do not care for your community but will buy weenies for your snowsled club and donate to whatever will give them good PR. You need to be extra careful how your ordinance is worded. If you really worry about denying rights for non windsprawl projects, make your ordinance specific. If some are sucking up to the developers and using the property rights card to fill their own pockets, they should look in the mirror and give it more thought. McKay and Tibbetts are on the right track.

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As a woman living in the western mountains a few miles north of Dixfield who is facing two wind turbine developments close to my home, I hope the residents of Dixfield will understand if I weigh in, here.

I wonder if you realize how lucky you are? I wonder if you can fathom the countless hours and the many dollars which residents of your town have put into making sure Dixfield is protected. It is much, much easier to loosen restrictions on a zoning ordinance 'after the fact' than it is to tighten them... especially if development is allowed to be built under those laxer regulations. What if, after all this, the residents vote down the zoning ordinance, the turbines come (and I hear the River Valley has up to 100 of them proposed for the mountains surrounding you) and you can't abide them?

What if they DO cause health problems? What then? The developers don't have any incentive to take the turbines down once they have the ability to collect subsidies and tax production credits. So... maybe they'll tell you they can turn back the speed at night... would that not prove that this plan is NOT about generating as much clean, renewable energy as is possible? Would it be okay if you discovered that you'd lost your iconic ridges for a false promise?

What if having 400 foot tall turbines marring the horizons and producing disturbing sounds and shadow flicker reduces your property values? Or causes a loss to your tourism trade?

What if they don't work????

What I am saying is... it's better to be safe than sorry. You folks have the opportunity to take control of what happens to your mountains and you have the ability to keep your quality of place and quality of life. Many of us here in Maine don't have the opportunity and the freedoms which you have. Those of us in unorganized territories in the "Expedited Wind Permitting Zone" do not have the power to determine siting for such intrusive developments We can not ban them. We are at the mercy of an over-worked Land Use Regulation Commission which is constantly being inundated by proposals for wind turbine developments all across Maine.

Please play it safe. Please remember that wind developers are in this for our tax dollars, which are up for grabs to whomever can get their turbines placed first. No matter what they tell you, science and economics prove that these are not the panacea which the industry and our current administration tout them as being. Please keep your sense of community and don't get angry at those who are simply trying to do what they believe is the RIGHT thing to do. Be proud that there are still people who will stand in the face of big money and big power and try to protect the little guys, against all odds.

You're really lucky, and I wish I had the same opportunity which you have to protect everything that's special about rural Maine.

Karen Pease
Lexington Twp. Me (in close proximity to Highland Wind LLC's and Iberdrola's wind development proposals.)

Please take the opportunity to attend the wind forum at Mt. Valley High in Rumford tomorrow night (09-29) from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Experts will be available to answer your questions, and if they don't know the answers, they will find them out for you. This is another excellent opportunity to become informed.

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Are you dodging the question?

Are you dodging the question? Who are these "experts'? Are the speakers as I for this event as I beleive the nut job from Dixmont with zero qualifications and Albert and Monique Aniel also with Zero qualifications? As this why the names are not being released to the media and you did not answer here?

What if after all this expense the voters vote down the ordinance, the turbines go up and the taxpayers get reimbursed for all the expense with tax revenues?

What if they don't cause any problems but the voters say no so we have no health problems and no revenues? What if they vote yes and there are no health problems and we do have the revenues?

What if tourists come to see the wind farms and spend money here while they visit? What if the 400 ft wind towers blend in with the sky and since they are 400 ft not the 60-80 ft ones that were at issue in California responsible for excessive bird kill, and the flicker is less than 30 hours a year which is less than we get through the trees and the "glint" is less than is off the buildings (especially windows) and cars?

What if the noise at the source is less than an electric razor? What if my neighbor is making a buck off leasing his land to a wind power company and paying more taxes? What if a few more of my neighbors have JOBS or maybe even my kid?

How "Quality" is our quality of place these days when we have no jobs, we can't pay our taxes, feed our families and our homes are falling down around us, Main Street is boarded up, and industries are disappearing? There are no guarantees in life other than death and taxes and we see where the taxes are going, UP. If we don't take a chance on something there wont be anything left sooner than you think.

Fess up Karen, you are brining in the SAME Ole unqualified nut cases to speak at this meeting as all the others.

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Hello, again!

Hi Common Sense.

I am really glad to see you engaged in this topic. But are you open-minded? I hope so. Trust me... it's a hard way to be and it takes a humble spirit. When I first heard about the governor's plans to install 2700 MWs (nameplate capacity, not actual production) of 'wind mills' on our mountains, i thought perhaps it was a good idea. I was not opposed. But then, you see, I started researching the issue. And Common Sense, I've gotta tell you...the facts scare the dickens out of me.'s hard to speak to somoeone who's a mystery to me. Here I am... real name. No hidden persona or agenda. I am a mother, wife, owner of a small business, part-time writer and farmer. Just a native Mainer who cares. Cares about alot of things... but what engaged me in this battle was the fact that there is so much that is simply WRONG about industrial wind. And I've read information from experts around the world, not just here in our corner of Maine. Unfortunately, we don't have them personally at our disposal for forums such as the one being hosted in the River Valley. But truly, Common Sense.. if you have your own expertise to add to this debate, you are welcome to come and give it at tomorrow's forum. We are doing our best to present factual information and to hear from all sides of this issue. You will, however, have to state your real name. This is an open and honest debate and there will be reporters there who may want to interview each person who speaks. That is what we ALL want... nothing under cover... everything exposed to the light of day. (You won't have to disclose your screen name, of course, so no worries there.)

There is no doubt that there are people who will benefit financially if industrial wind comes to their town or township. Landowners who sell or lease to developers are sure to make a handsome profit. I have never been opposed to getting a return on an investment... but that investment can not have deleterious effects on others. And it is a fact-- many impacts on a parcel of land do not cease to exist once a blazed line or a piece of rebar is met. It doesn't work like that. Just ask folks living near a pig or chicken farm. :o) (Full disclosure... I have five pigs here at The F.A.R.M. Thus far, my neighbors haven't complained, but we have an awesome set-back from other property lines.)

And then we have those temporary construction workers. I think of them all the time. They are hard-working men and women who are doing a job and trying to pay their bills and raise their families. But how many more, full time, year-round jobs could we create if we took those millions and millions of tax-payer dollars (the lion's share of which goes to the developer and overseas to places like Denmark and China, where the turbines are manufactured) and used them to make our aging housing stock more efficient? That would be a win-win-WIN! Contractors, electricians and plumbers put to work... old furnaces and water heaters replaced with more efficient and cleaner burning models... that would not only reduce our use of fossil fuels, but would reduce carbon emmissions AND keep more money in Mainers' pockets. All without the loss of a single ridgeline, and without the worrisome health and environmental impacts of industrial wind.

We have to look at real impacts, REAL numbers (not what developers 'sell' but what experts with no stake in the game tell us) and real, long-term solutions. These projects have, at best, a twenty year life span. They are heavily subsidized. They aren't compatible with the grid, and because of that, we need 500 miles of new high voltage transmission corridors cut through this state (please thnk of herbicides, and increased cases of leulenia when you consider some of the impacts). And CMPC rate-payers will bear a good portion of the cost, even though we don't need this wind power and it won't stay here in Maine.

My friend, I could go on, but I invite you to come to the forum tomorrow. Whether we agree or not, or whether we choose to disagree, we each deserve an opportunity to hear and to speak. That's what being an American is all about... open dialogue and nothing covert-- not laws and decisions made in back offices and without Mainers' input. Please come.

I'd write more, but there's a teen needing a ride home from Driver's Ed. Have a nice evening, Common Sense. Thanks for the dialogue.

Karen Pease
Lexington Twp., ME

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Property rights

Hi Common Sense

Property rights... that's a very sensitive issue, and with good reason. I understand your perspective, but the fact is-- all governing bodies have restrictions on what an owner can and cannot do with his or her property. Where I live in LURC territotry, for example, I cannot build a building more than 25 feet tall. LURC has been charged with protecting-- among other things-- the aesthetic quality of our rural areas. So if I decide I want a four-story building... I'm out of luck. Because LURC has the right to tell me what I can do on my own property. When you think about it, a four story building-- say 40 feet tall-- is much less intrusive on my neighbors than a 400 foot tall windmill would be. And my building wouldn't produce high, low and ultra-low frequency noise, nor would it kill migratory birds and bats. It wouldn't need miles of new roads blasted and built, no wetlands would need to be filled in, and no clearcuts need be made in order for me to build it. I wouldn't even expect any of my neighbors to subsidize it for me. :o)

I understand your point (although I know Freemont and Dan, and I don't expect them to get quite as radical as you predict any time soon... they have loads of common sense, for sure!) Please try to understand the perspective of others. I see you in these forums on a regular basis and I can't quite understand why you are such a proponent of these mountaintop wind developments, when daily, more facts are emerging proving what an ill-advised plan they are for this state-- in every way. If you work in some sector pertaining to these projects, I suppose you are protecting your job, and I 'get' that. But let's stick to the facts if at all possible. Towns and states have historically been able to tell us what we can and can't do on our property. And occasionally, they also decide to come in and "take" it so that they can do what THEY want to with it. Sight, sound and contamination don't recognize property borders or town lines. What we each do on our property affects others, and since we don't seem capable of taking our neighbors into consideration when we decide to make an impact on our land, governmental bodies are charged with doing it for us. It is up to Common Sense citizens to decide what is best in their own corner of Maine.

Please come to the wind forum in Rumford on Wednesday night (Mt. Valley High, 6:00-9:00) to listen to scientifically and economically based information about these projects. You won't be sorry, and you just might understand where folks like Freemont and Dan are coming from, and why they are working so hard to do what they believe is the RIGHT thing to do.

Karen Pease
Lexington Twp. , ME

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Will there be real speakers

Will there be real speakers or the usual collection of nut jobs, like the guy from Dixmont and unqualified people like Albert and Monique Aniel? I have been waiting to see a list of speakers and all the paper keeps printing is that a lot of people have been invited. How is participating and what are their credentials?

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Hello again, Common Sense

I suppose the answer to your question depends on who you consider to be a 'nut job'. Out of all those invited for the panel, I probably am the one most qualified to wear that honorable title, as I am a part-time humorist and the writer of a light-hearted, folksy newspaper column. I also have two teens still at home (who drive me nuts) and I work with my parents (who drive me nuts... but please don't tell them I said that as I'm still a bit scared of my mother.)

In all seriousness, the other members of the panel are, yes, experts in their fields. JDwight is an economist and investment advisor. Robert Rand is a leading acoustics engineer who has been working on wind-related sound issues for a long time. I do not know why you disqualify Dr. Aniel, but unless you, too, are a doctor, I think perhaps that is unfair. Attorney Chris O'Neil is, I believe, particpating as a moderator of sorts. I've spoen to him at length and found him to be wise and stable and very knowledgable.

If there are people whom you can think of who would be qualified to speak on industrial wind-- scientists, economists and other experts-- wildlife biologists, soils scientists, environmental engineers, etc.-- people who have put months or years of their time into studying this topic, please share those names with me. I would love to make their acquaintance. We are interested in the facts. Period.

Take care.
Karen Pease
Lexington Twp. ME

P.S. If you'd like to email me for a flyer with the pertinent info, please do at highlandmts@gmail. com. I'll do my best to forward that info to you.

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What a JOKE

As a humorist, I do not consider you qualified to be speaking on this subject in the forum you suggested this would be. Stand up comedy at a club I would never go to I'm sure you'd be perfect.

J Dwight is a nut plain and simple not qualified in this field. He is a financial advisor, who might be qualified to advise people on insurance, mortgages stocks and bonds though I would not use him or recommend him and I doubt he has a securities license. To call J Dwight an economist is an extreme stretch, and I mean extreme.

Dr. Aniel is not qualified on anything related to this field. He has a habit in the Rumford Area of claiming to be an expert and getting into trouble. He claimed "expertise" in the '90s with NOCC but that did not last long and he was gone shortly after the real experts showed up and he got himself embarassed when he was uncovered for fibbing his knowledge. If you brought in some real experts he'd be hiding as they showed him for what is, a phonie nobody trying to look like a big man in a little town. He already got caught with the MMA talking about stuff he didn't know anything about with wind power.

I looked up Robert Rand first found a website that does not work but did have a link to one that does where he sells his CD. This guy is one of those New Ager Music Healers types, "Robert Rand is an experienced professional acoustical consultant, musician, and polarity therapist." This is not an industrial sound specialist. Since there isn't a single ligit speaker, I didn't waste my time checking out the moderator. Like I said, just another nut job convention.

If you folks were serious you would have brought in industrial sound consultants like the state used to figure out the sound limits in the model ordinance or that work with the paper mills and other industries. You would have brought in health people from MIT or CDC or some other legit organization with an understanding of industrial health or better yet, how about a professional from the California Dept of Health that has looked at folks in the area of the biggest farms in the country, or in Texas, or someone they recommended.

If you really wanted to tell people the truth about the tax implications who better than someone from the State Bureau of Taxation to explain and answer any questions.

Nope, Karen this is just more of the same old same old phonies trying to pass themselves off as being experts in fields they are not. You will not see me there.

Rumford Wind Power Advisory Committee, Are you going to make any attempt to fulfill your mandate of educating the people of Rumford on the Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Power? Time is running out before we are forced to vote on your ordinance. Are you expecting us to vote ignorant?

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Oops! I missed this...

Sorry, Common Sense... and I really do have to run to get the girl.

But let me ask this...

What are your qualifications, that you can so easily dismiss these people? It's too easy to hide behind a screen name. I inderstand it, but if you are going to put others down, you should not be allowed to do it with impunity. There are consequences for our actions, and each of these people are speaking out without hiding. If you are going to be insulting, please have the courage to put your name behind the slur. It takes courage, but you'll be respected for having some.

And.... how about Warren Brown, the DEP consultant, who two weeks ago determined that Fox Island WInd was, in fact, creating noise above the DEP's night-time limits, even though FIW had been claiming they weren't? Is he one of the experts you would respect?

Please, Common Sense... don't be nasty. There's no place for it here in such an important topic. You can blast me all you want, but you should really come to the forum and do it to my face. I might cry, but that's okay. I'll go home afterwards and relax to Mr. Rand's CD. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

I'm off! Wow! Talk about an adrenalin rush!

Still respectfully,
Karen (you know the rest)

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I took the time like so many

I took the time like so many others to serve on NOCC for three years and listen to experts. I know that I don't know and the best way to know is to bring in qualified people. I know Albert and Monique Aniel started out on NOCC like so many other projects in this area and they drop out fairly quickly when real experts are brought in. I've watched these people over and over bash wind with no substance, no facts to back them up. I also have looked at their credentials or better put lack there off, which goes a lot to credibility. If you are going to tell me you are an expert in something, you better have the credentials to back it up. Someone who records birds chirping and ocean waves to make a CD and a buck does not an expert on sound make.

I would have accepted Warren Brown, he has the credentials to back up his testimony, his presentation, his information. He is an expert in his field which is a field relevant to the subject.

You folks have had quite a road show going, I would prefer to be spared a repeat performance thank you. I am looking for experts, professionals relevant as I said. I want to learn about the advantages and disadvantages not another the sky will fall performance. That is all the people of Rumford have been asking for since the moratorium was put in place.

How about you, J Dwight, Robert Rand and the Aniels stay home and instead we have Warren Brown and some other people like him come in. People like I suggested with real science behind them.

I also guess you missed the part earlier that a lot of folks in Rumford are afraid to speak openly since our Town Manager and Two Selectmen were threatened. You want to talk about being nasty, nasty is threatening a public official, his office, his business and his family. That seems to be what people who are against wind power have gotten best at though. So the all but a few who are really courageous or really stupid like Ms Casey and Mr Theriault stay anonymous for self preservation.

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Hi Common Sense...

Husband is picking up daughter, so here I am, again.

Thank you for the calmer tone. I appreciate it.

I was asked to speak about real estate values. I have been a licensed real estate broker for 22 years, and I have owned a small real estate company since 2001.

In my brief presentation (for we were asked to be brief, so that people could ask questions at their leisure, and that is an excellent way to engage and learn) I will be talking about industrial wind's effects on real estate values. We in Maine do not yet have 'comparable sales' from which to judge the exact effect wind turbines will have on homes within their sound- and view-shed. Mars Hill is the only wind development which has been operational in Maine for an extended amount of time, and those homes which have been affected by this development are not currently for sale. Therefore, we have to rely on experts from other parts of the country, who have studied this. I will be sharing a comprehensive report completed by McCann Appraisal Services in Illinois, which was done at the behest of county officials prior to their consideration of a wind turbine development. I would be happy to share that 80+ page document with you, if you do not wish to come to the meeting tomorrow. I believe it is in our best interests to learn from others' experiences and mistakes. If we looked to countries like Denmark and Spain, we would not be considering this proposal... and they have been heavily invested in wind for many years. If you are interested, I will dig up some of the articles I have and email them to you.

There are many other reports and studies which have been done on this issue. The wind industry likes to quote from a Department of Energy study which was completed last year, but which has been refuted by others. We have to take all the data given us and determine who we will believe... and why. Do the studies come from people who stand to gain or lose, based on the outcome of the study? Are they independent sources, with no stake in the conclusions? These are hard questions. I sense you have a genuine desire to know the facts, and that you've been extremely frustrated by 'the process'. So am I.

So am I.

I will do my best to answer questions tomorrow night, and if I do not KNOW the answer, I vow to do my best to discover one.. from experts who are unbiased. I hope you will keep an open mind and heart. Just because a group of people shows passion about an issue does not make them 'nut jobs'. Some of our biggest heroes in history were passionate about what they believed in, too.

And some were just nut jobs. :o)

I'd like to meet you. I think we could have a very productive-- and pleasant-- conversation.


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Do you think there is any

Do you think there is any possibility of having a panel such as the one I identified as appropriate come to Rumford before the November? That is what is really needed.

I have to wonder how bad things can be at Mars Hill if, as you say none of the properties involved are for sale? No one seems to want to get away from the turbines and there have been no sales to show a drop in value. I also know first hand that the fellow from Vinal Haven who complained that the Turbines their destroyed his property values does not have his property for sale and was approached by someone I know who was willing to pay full value for it. Same as he would have gotten before the turbines and the fellow flatout refused, said his property wasn't for sale. Well if your property isn't for sale and you turndown an offer of full value before the turbines out of hand without even making a counter offer, he probably could have gotten more than before, how do you claim the turbines lowered your property value?

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When a property owner does something on his/her land that ruins the life of his/her neighbor, that neighbor has every right to have a say in what happens. A strong ordinance is important to protect each and every citizen from unscrupulous developers who don't give a damn about whose life they ruin and from greedy neighbors who want to make a few bucks. Don't fall for this line about property rights. A strict ordinance is important to protect the environment as well. Be forewarned and do your homework about the industrial wind and its flaws. Go to just for starters.

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freemont tibbetts

Freemont Tibbetts is fighting a war without guns. He is in his eighties and probably wont see these huge wind towers he talks about. He is a man who had to work the land or the consquences were; your family went without. He has seen an industrial nation gone wild and then tamed again with cleaner rivers. Clear cutting stopped. Water supply in demand. He is fighting for the future.
I am sure camping, farming and sustainable forestry and even a water tower are not industrial turbines. I guess the zoning should have looked more at water and air protection laws; as this is what they mean in stopping these huge industrial wind turbines from blasting our mountain tops.

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A unique idea would before

A unique idea would before those folks all hept up on keeping wind turbines off the mountain tops to buy up the land and refuse to lease to the wind turbine folks or anyone else who wanted to do something they didn't like. If you own it you should have a right to do with it what you want, make a living even, or not if you so choose. These anti-wind folk think the land owners ought to keep paying the big taxes but on land they have made worthless cause the landowner can't do nothin with it cause of all the rules these NIMBYs make. I say, let the NIMBYs put their money where their mouths are. If you don't want wind power on the mountains, buy the land and you got the right to decide what goes on it. If you aint willing to buy the land, shut the hell up.

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its all good... I am sure the

its all good... I am sure the fish and birds like the power plant on the river.... As well as the 24/7 lights and what is that stuff blowing into the sky? Another brain tumor or case of lukemia?

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Hopefully the people of

Hopefully the people of Dixfield are all paying attention. Today Fremont Tibbetts and Dan McKay want to keep anyoneColonel Holman Mountain ridge and Sugarloaf Mountain from doing anything on their land except logging and having cellphone towers. Tomorrow they might decide you shouldn't park your boat or camper in the front yard anywhere or they might decide you can't have a business on Weld St. Who knows what Fremont Tibbetts and Dan McKay or someone else might decide you should or should not be allowed to do with your land, the land you pay taxes on, tomorrow, next week or next year. These two get their foot in the door with this kind of anti-property owners rights zoning and there is no end to it, no one is safe.


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