Few attend special meeting on wind ordinance, charter changes

RUMFORD — About 20 people attended a special business meeting Tuesday to discuss proposed charter changes on how budget and initiated articles are voted and on a proposed wind ordinance.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

At Tuesday night's special business meeting in Rumford on a proposed wind ordinance, Rumford resident David Glover Sr. said the ordinance as written is anti-business and should not be approved at the polls on Nov. 2.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Dr. Albert Aniel of Mexico told residents at Tuesday night's special business meeting that the proposed wind ordinance was designed to protect Rumford residents and should be approved at the Nov. 2 polls.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

At a special business meeting on a proposed wind ordinance Tuesday night, Neil Kiely, project manager for First Wind, a Boston-based wind developer that has proposed building a wind farm in Rumford, told a small group that the ordinance is overly restrictive. He urged voters to defeat the ordinance on Nov. 2.

Of the few who spoke, most were from out of town and most addressed the wind ordinance, a summary of which is not included in the warrant. Instead, voters are asked to visit the Town Clerk's Office to view it before voting on it and the charter changes on Nov. 2.

After there was little to no discussion on changing the charter to prevent a minority from trumping the majority on split-recommendation budgetary and initiated article funding matters, Finance Committee member Josanne Dolloff asked how restrictive the ordinance is for wind development.

The only person willing to answer was Neil Kiely, project manager for Boston-based wind developer First Wind, which has tentatively proposed a wind farm on Rumford mountains. He said it's on hold until Rumford develops a law to regulate such development.

Kiely told Dolloff that Rumford's proposed ordinance was essentially copied from Dixmont's ordinance, which John Maloney has labeled as anti-wind power. Maloney is a senior land-use planner with the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments in Auburn.

“The Dixmont ordinance, as John Maloney testified, was designed to stop wind in that community, and it worked,” Kiely said.

He explained that there were two wind developers in Dixmont, one of which had a meteorological tower set up to measure wind. When Dixmont voters approved the ordinance, the developers left, Kiely said.

He said First Wind looked at the Rumford ordinance that was drafted by the Board of Selectmen's Wind Power Advisory Committee, and was told by committee members that it was modeled on Dixmont's.

But Kiely said the Rumford ordinance is exactly the same as Dixmont's except for some procedural changes and some situations that were made even more restrictive.

“So, they took the Dixmont ordinance, they didn't make it any more flexible or accommodating to wind, and that's the ordinance that's on the ballot for Nov. 2,” Kiely said.

Dolloff said Rumford voters must be mindful of the town's future generations for energy needs.

“I think we have to get back to what Mother Nature is supplying us with, whether it be wind, hydro or solar,” she said. “And I think that we can't have restrictions where we totally wipe out or close the door on anything natural.”

“We can't think of ourselves and what's happening today," Dolloff said. "We really have to look long term, and if this ordinance is going to close that door, I can't be in favor of it."

Dr. Albert Aniel of Mexico disagreed with Kiely's assessment, saying the ordinance “is not anti-wind.”

He said Maloney's statement is merely his opinion. Aniel said he believes the ordinance would protect Rumford residents, which is what it was designed to do.

Selectman Greg Buccina, reading from a prepared statement, said Rumford needs an ordinance and should vote for the one that is proposed, which he helped create.

Resident David Glover Sr. disagreed.

“My biggest concern, given how this proposed ordinance is written, it is — despite what some people would want you to think — anti-business,” Glover said.

“I think we do need an ordinance in place," he said. "I don't think this is the answer.”

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Our business does not have it!

Obviously the voters in Rumford still don't get. There are fewer and fewer businesses in Rumford because of the excessive spending. The Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and voters just keep on spending. Black Mountain is a private ski resort that should in no way be allowed to be a non-profit. The only purpose for it to be a non-profit is to get taxpayer money so skiers don't have to pay a fair price to ski, what it costs to operate; being non-profit allows Black Mountain to get taxpayers to subsidize their recreation. The Black Montain Board refuses to do any fundraising. They are fighting economic development in the community and fighting broadening the tax base so business like mine and families like mine are paying higher and higher taxes getting squeezed more and more year after year. Last year our home, business and personal property taxes saw a 22 and a 1/2 percent tax increase. We have been told to expect another jump this year. It simply isn't there to give people. Our property is worth less and less, truthfully we couldn't give it away in this town. Our business and our family have been in Rumford a lot of years providing good paying jobs with benefits, this may well be the last which will mean more lost jobs for Rumford people and lost taxes for you spend happy people make up for. It would be cheaper for us to pack up and move our business with all of the inventory and equipment and go to a business friendly state. We are seriously talking about salvaging what we can, then bulldozing our nice buildings, home and business, because nobody is going to buy here and then giving the town the land with the bulldozed buildings. If the town doesn't just take it they will end up with it for taxes because we will not pay anymore; why should we and why would we leave the town our nice, well maintained buildings after being screwed for staying, giving people jobs and getting bent over for taxes besides year after year. Just take a ride around, look at all the abandoned property! Hell, take a walk down Waldo St and on the Island. The industrial park and business park are a joke. The mill looks awful and no wonder, why in the world would they, could they afford after paying Taxford's outrageous taxes afford to put money into paint, keeping the place cleaned up and looking nice. Come the November election Rumford will be voting on the wind power ordinance. A yes vote will not only be a permanent moratorium on wind it will be a loud and clear signal to all businesses that Rumford has a permanent moratorium of business. If the wind power ordinances passes expect to see us move our business out of Rumford, bulldoze our home and business and leave the property to the town to deal with. You will get a new line of folks signing up for general assistance while they wait for their unemployment checks and when their benefits runout. We pay good wages with benefits, it is unfortunate that Rumford people from the Board of Selectmen on down through the voters are clueless and driving out all the jobs.

 's picture

Enron East

I think Dr. Aniel has done the research. I find identical info in the 2 years I have been studying windsprawl. Read the book "Smartest Guys in the Room" and learn how the energy industry thinks. If the Boston outsiders want to make fast money they could sell junk bonds like Harvard alum Michael Milken. Jeffrey Skilling another Harvard boy felt he could write his own rules for Enron. Is the Harvard culture completely wiping out any common sense or morals from their students? George Baker, Harvard professor, built the Vinalhaven turbines too close to peoles' homes. If one uses common sense, one would build away from homes. That old Harvard connection again, with common sense absent. Several Harvard professors were touting the Enron model for case studies for their students. That it was illegal or nonsensical didn't matter. They got away with it for years. They felt entitled. So too do the wind developers. Their promises are exaggerations, The power produced is a SECRET!! What does that tell you? They are hiding something. It is not just about Rumford. Maine needs more communities to stand up like Dixmont and protect the citizens. Note that the windsprawllers are working to stop Maine from being a "home rule" state. It was turned down once but they are still trying.(LD199). Mass. is trying too. They want to plant turbines ANYWHERE regardless of people, zoning, State Parks, whatever. That would mean we the people will be trumped by corporate interests at their whims. That is not right. Candiceanne ... I know two families who sold their camps far below market value because the windsprawl in Lincoln would be right across the lake from them. Property does lose value, of course when the prime reason for purchase is blighted. The ordinance is pro citizen which is the way "life should be" in Maine.

 's picture

Boo-hoo

“The Dixmont ordinance, as John Maloney testified, was designed to stop wind in that community, and it worked,” Kiely said.

So what's wrong with that Attorney Keilly? If the majority of the citizens in any given community vote for an ordinance to prevent Industrial Wind Power or any other potentially destructive business from forcing themselves on that community - why is it wrong? Attorney Kielly only has on evested interest here - he recieves a $200,000. bonus from his employer for each project site that gets approved for development. Just another corporate weasel attorney passing himself off as "just one of the folks" as he tries to improve his employers chances of feeding at the taxpayer trough once again. Rumford area citizens, give Attorney Kiely and First Wind directions to the southbound lane of the Kittery bridge and be rid of these snake oil salesmen once and for all.

Alice Barnett's picture

rural Maine

Please look into the validity of the alternative energy wind mills create.
Manufaturing the wind mills cost more carbon foot print than the mill can mitigate in it's lifetime.
yes, agreed a noise ordinance should be in place across the board for any future businesses.
The paper mill has cleaned it self up through mandates of the federal government.(maybe they will work on noise levels)
Businesses can be green and still save our beautiful mountains.
Tourism and development create far more jobs in any town than huge turbines killing our environment.
If the same energy used in fighting growth of medicinal marijuana was spent promoting our farmers; an extra income could be had by any who worked the land.
Which, by the way, if you hike a little bit into our woods you can ask the animals how they feel.

Lisa Lindsay's picture

So what?

Wow, you're a regular Nancy Drew, but what's your point? I don't really see a conflict of interest. I don't see how they stand to gain financially by fighting industrial wind. This vote is ultimately up to the folks in Rumford, you are right. Those who are opposed to industrial wind in Rumford are generally opposed to mountaintop industrial wind developments in Maine. And while they may not be residents of a particular town, they are still residents of MAINE--they appreciate the beauty, they hunt, fish, bike, hike...not just in their own town. In addition, there are concerns of the cumulative impact that these projects could have. This isn't one project, it is one of many--one ridgeline after another. Maybe you should consider getting out of your Rumford bubble and think about what this area will look like and sound like when/if we allow these projects on every suitable ridge or mountain in western Maine. So while you're right that this particular vote is Rumford's, I don't think that means that those from neighboring towns should not have a voice.

Karen  Pease's picture

Hello again, Candiceanne

Good morning.

I was saddened to read your comments in this forum, Candiceanne-- and as an anti-bullying advocate, I was also distressed to see tactics usually employed by middle-schoolers being used in a public arena such as this. Please, please stop these personal attacks on those who oppose your views.

You've mentioned as candiceanne and as commonsense that you would like to see an educational forum on industrial wind, and yet, each time one has been organized in your area, you have maligned the people who organized it, the people who spoke, and the actual topics discussed. You've inferred that these educational meetings were biased, but at least three wind developers were asked to attend the last one in Rumford, and they all declined the invitation to send their own experts to speak. I encourage YOU to take the lead, just as those good citizens have done previously. YOU can arrange the speakers, the venue, the topics. It is every bit as much YOUR right as it is the right of those others who have worked tirelessly on this topic in the past. You cannot wait for others to design something of which you would approve-- but you have it in your power to do it, yourself. You could have it arranged within a week. I know, because I've done it, and I would be happy to help you with any logistical details, if you need help.

It's not okay to defame others. It's not okay to complain about something unless you are willing to give an equal or better effort to change that which you are dissatisfied with. It's never okay to resort to the type of bullying which you do here online, protected by a screen name and not looking your opponents in the eye. Please, candiceanne. This is a serious topic, and it deserves to be dealt with in a mature and reasoned manner. Whether you are a resident of Florida who comes 'home' to Maine on a part-time basis, or a former governor who was born in New York but who chose Maine as his home, or whether you are a native, born and bred-- we are all human beings, and we are Americans. We all love this state. This issue deserves a thoughtful and factual discourse. I believe you owe several people a sincere apology for bringing their personal lives into the spotlight. Especially when you are unwilling to do the same.

I would love to sit down with you and have a candid conversation. I believe two women, working together, can solve all kinds of problems. I'll even come to you, and take you to lunch. What do you say? Can we stop this vitriol and have a meaningful discussion and/or respectful debate? We women should be peace-keepers, even when we are at odds. You may email me at home at roomtomove@tds.net or call 628-2070 any time. I'd appreciate the opportunity to speak to you personally.

Respectfully,
Karen Pease
Lexington Twp. ME

 's picture

Candiceanne, you are right

Candiceanne, you are right not to waste your time on Karen. Well put, she wouldn't know the truth if it bit her on the A$$. I met with her when she was her after she lied to me in this blog about the meeting. All I got in the blog was lies, all I got when we met was more lies, all that came out of her mouth during the presentations, more lies still.

If this ordinance passes we expect to close up our business and bulldoze the buildings and our home after we move out the inventory and equipment and salvage what we can from the buildings. Our closing will cost Rumford more good jobs with benefits that Rumford apparently doesn't want. We are done being taken advantage of. We are looking at out of state locations where businesses are welcome.

Lisa Lindsay's picture

Doubt it

You are making a lot of assumptions about a family and basically spreading rumors that are unfounded. If you are against this ordinance or are pro-wind, then I suggest, as I have to someone else on here, that you focus on your task at hand which would be educating yourselves and your community best you can and vote as you wish. While we in Maine have a fear of outsiders (which First Wind most definitely is), I would not worry about those from the next town (not really from away) who are trying to educate Maine citizens on the facts they have gathered re: industrial wind. Those of you who are in favor of this project can hold a forum or speak up at meetings just the same anytime you want to make the effort and go to the expense.

Lisa Lindsay's picture

Doesn't matter

King is an outsider. The company is very much from away. What happens in these rural communities--the anger and divisiveness, the human and wildlife impacts--is no concern of his or theirs.

We can go around and around on this, but the bottom line is that experts have been brought but those in favor of wind power did not like what the experts said. Then you say that the experts were not good enough. This on top of all the appearances by wind company executives with all of their presentations. The information is out there. The dead horse has been beaten. What's left to say, really?

 's picture

ordinance

A mile set back from property lines is protecting property values as well as citizens health.
IF these big wind machines did actually make money or energy we would welcome this form of alternative energy.
Instead; Big Wind is on a fast track expediting towns approvals . They receive stimulus money as soon as these 480 foot monsters go up. The turbines do not have to be hooked to the grid.
I do not know what happened to Kathryn Skelton and her investigation into these scams.
I never see a photo simulation in the press.
Please read between the lines. Europe has cancelled stimulus funds for wind energy after ten years of investing in jobs and energy; then seeing neither is there to offset the tax payers investments.
We need to protect future generations of this malady and give them the earth's resources
intact.
I do not know what wind companies give land owners for price value, but surely development is spreading our way from Bethel and Rangeley.
If towns need money; invest in tourism; vistas, water, hiking, sking and yes maybe a casino.

Hooray Dave & Josanne

Mr. Aniel does not live in Rumford and should not have been allowed to speak. Mr. Buccina is beyond center field and needs to move to an anti business community. And don't forget to bring Aniel and the others who wrote that ordinance. In fact the tickets wouldn"t cost anything if you can jump on one of those wasteful firework rockets that would help with the very quick move.

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