RUMFORD — A proposed wind energy ordinance widely believed to essentially ban such development, went down to defeat by an unofficial vote of 1,033 to 1,328.
First Wind LLC, Boston, Mass., has proposed construction of up to 12 turbines at a cost of about $60 million on Black Mountain, and adjacent North and South Twin mountains.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said he believed the majority of people were concerned that the ordinance was too restrictive, and that the ballot question may have been confusing to some.
“My concern from the beginning was regulation, to regulate but not to prohibit,” he said.
He said he and the board will have to formulate a process that would address any wind development.
He said the Wind Committee's job was done when they passed in the proposed ordinance. The current moratorium expires at the end of this month, as well.
“The selectmen will look to the Planning Board and to Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments for some guidance,” he said.
Wind Committee members may also participate.
Selectmen meet Thursday.
Len Greaney, a member of the committee that developed the ordinance, said he was not surprised at the results of the vote.
“A lot of people live farther away and believe (the development) will help us a little financially,” Greaney said.
This is the second time Rumford voters have shown interest in wind development. Two years ago, the town voted 751-364 in favor of wind projects.
“We are grateful the residents of Rumford were willing to keep the conversation going in regards to wind development in town,” said Neil Kiely of First Wind in a news release. “We are hopeful the Select Board will work toward crafting a new ordinance and we look forward to cooperating with the Select Board as the process moves forward.”
First Wind has no other local projects in the offing, but does operate three in Mars Hill and Stetson, is constructing one in Lincoln, and is in the later stages of development in the town of Oakfield.