Wind panel opts for state version

RUMFORD — Following a stern rebuking from Selectman Greg Buccina at Thursday night's wind ordinance workshop, three other selectmen who sought to end work on the document discussed its issues at length.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal photo

At Thursday night's wind ordinance workshop, Rumford Selectman Jeff Sterling, left, explains to Chairman Brad Adley why he believes the board shouldn't use the previously drafted wind ordinance that a majority of voters defeated last November.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal photo

Rumford Selectman Greg Buccina rebukes fellow board members at Thursday night's workshop after three of them decided to go with the Office of Maine State Planning wind ordinance template instead of retrofitting the template to fit Rumford's needs.

More than 2.5 hours later, they came to a consensus for the most part on numbers to plug into the State Planning Office wind ordinance template from which they were working.

However, no action was taken. That must be done at a regular board meeting.

Selectman Jeff Sterling set the stage for Buccina's angst, labeling the board's previous workshop with Andrew Fisk of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection a “horrible” experience.

“I felt he was ambushed and asked questions he couldn't possibly answer,” Sterling said.

He also accused the board of treating the wind power issue “so differently” than any other issue that's come before the board.

“There's a level of fairness that isn't being achieved,” Sterling said.

He then said he would not take anything from the previously proposed wind ordinance that a majority of voters defeated in November.

Instead, he suggested putting the template — which Buccina previously labeled pro-wind — before voters in June.

Selectmen Chairman Brad Adley and Selectman Mark Belanger quickly agreed. Buccina, however, quickly blasted them.

“I think it's a cop-out,” he said.

“I think that you're just passing the buck, and I think that if we just go ahead and pass this watered-down ordinance, which was written by an administration in a pro-wind environment, that you're doing a huge disservice to the citizens of this community.”

He said he did a lot of work prior to the meeting to work out compromises on the issues to minimize the board's time.

“Again, I think this is a cop-out, and I'm very disappointed in that,” he said.

“I think that either way this goes, you guys are going to get what you want, because it was said at the last meeting, 'Whatever we do with this, if it doesn't get passed, then we fall back on the DEP (ordinance).'”

“I came here with a proposal tonight, you know, and I just can't understand why I would want to have some company take my taxpayer dollars, blast away my mountainsides, create no jobs, and do nothing for my community, and save $73 of taxpayer money on a medium average house, and do nothing for this town, but destroy our infrastructure, and it just amazes me that you guys are willing to let them walk in here and do that,” Buccina said.

He then mentioned previous discussion on setbacks that he thought would be continued at Thursday's meeting.

“But I guess if we're really going to pass this thing, then there's really no need for me to waste my time here,” he said.

“The majority of towns that have ordinances in place have done their homework and are willing to spend their time and do something for their citizens, because that's what an ordinance is, to protect it.”

Later, both Adley and Belanger told Buccina that town mountains do not belong to Buccina or selectmen or the town, but to private landowners, and that selectmen shouldn't be telling them what to do with their property.

Buccina lobbied for a 2,000-foot sound, safety and shadow flicker setback from a turbine to an occupied dwelling, but Sterling, Adley and Belanger disagreed.

After considerable discussion, they decided to investigate 2,000 feet for sound setbacks, but the trio wanted the safety setback at 150 percent of the size of the turbine blade at maximum height above a turbine.

They also bogged down on when a developer should fully fund decommissioning its wind farm. Buccina wanted it on day one of construction or within three to four years. The others wanted 15 years, although Sterling later proposed 10 years.

Buccina refused to budge despite being told by Belanger that he wasn't being fair.

“We are being fair,” Buccina said.

“Are we doing this to any other industry?” Belanger shot back.

“It's what other towns are doing to protect themselves,” Buccina said.

In the end, Sterling said, “For good or for bad, the cards have been laid on the table.”

“This has been the most productive discussion that we've had,” he said. “Not everybody's going to like what we do, and that's how it goes.”

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

money talks

someone told selectmen that safety is in the falling of the towers.
While flying ice and blade parts scatter over 1500 feet.
Someone leads the selectmen to believe there is salvage value in the towers themselves.
China makes these carbon composite towers because most countries have environmental laws that control toxic by-products. USA cannot re-melt.
Reed and Reed claim ownership of the largest crane in Maine. How much does that cost? (deduct from salvage)
Every project stopped gives a chance for unspent stimulis money to go back into coffer.
I see education has aluded people. What to believe.
People must sense these blade turbines are bad.
There is another way to spend our dollars.
Wind energy money will be there in a year. Take your time.
Many parts of the huge application will be addressed to the DEP on March 10 at Dixfield high School; dinner hour 4-6 hosted by RVAAW (River Valley Alliance Against Wind)
Homemade and homegrown food.
Many a conversation going on. Listen to your neighbors, see the maps. Add education.

 's picture

Proper Behavior at Meetings

At the meeting last night, most of the audience behaved themselves. They refrained from outbursts, cheers and jeers. Unfortunately, one citizen from a neighboring town arrived late and chose to ignore the rules of etiquette and rules of order by which meetings are run. The offending person, whom I will not name, proceeded to hold conversations with others in the audience, scoff when something said disagreed with the person's opinion, chortle at statements made, speak out loud at statements made, and even laugh out loud at statements made. Luckily for the person, Carlo Puiia, who ran the meeting, did not choose to make an issue of the disturbance. Under Maine law, a person can be removed from a meeting for such behavior. Aside from the legal aspects of the behavior, it is rude. Some people attend meetings to actually hear what is being said by the official participants. We don't want to have someone come in from another town to interfere with our ability to do so.

If you want to be part of a meeting run as a circus, do so in your own town. You will not see me come to be a part of it, nor to correct you. What you do in your town is up to your townspeople. If they want to condone disrespect and rude behavior, that is their choice.

 's picture

Thank you, Frank.

Thank you, Frank.
Let me extend to you an invitation to the People's Meeting in Dixfield, March 10th, 4 to 6pm . There will be a free supper and I will save a place at the head of the table for you.

Thank You, Dan

Thank you Dan for the invite. Have placed it on my calendar. Will you be sitting there with me. That would allow some one-on-one conversation to find some common ground, hopefully.

Finally

the Rumford board does what the people want. Except for Buccina and Volkernick who just continue to go against the peoples wishes. Mr. Buccina has the mill mentallity that has brought this town down for centuries. The mill no longer controls this town politically like it use to in past years when the board controlled by Hugh Chisolm and Oxford drove other industries out with board control. By the way Mr. Buccinna that light flicker on the smoke stack keeps me up all night. Why don't you get it shut off for it's bad health effects that it causes. Environmentally this mill has caused health problems for years. Why do you think it's called cancer valley. Was anything done for that? NO! Money talks and Bull_ _ _ _ has had control of this area to long. So the Mr Buccina/Volkernick tandem bike riders should do what's best for the town resign.

 's picture

Keep up the good reporting, Terry and Eileen

First of all, kudos to Terry Karkos and Eileen Adams for their efforts in being there whenever a " Wind " agenda is taking place in the River Valley. Good reporting leads to good debate.
Last nights meeting not only created heated exchanges on the "good" and "bad" of wind, but it revealed the frustration involved in creating the "right " ordinance.
Mr. Buccina pointed to towns in the area concerned with the " State Rules for Wind "and consequentially brought to their townspeople a choice in the only manner they can, an ordinance ( rules and regulations to protect community health and welfare ) .
The only " right " ordinance is one that gives people a choice to the question of whether wind projects should be allowable or not. Wind power will impact us all, for we all purchase electricity and for this simple fact , the rights of private land use is overridden by social implications.
An ordinance that is written to effectively allow wind projects to proceed in Rumford is counter-productive to giving the people a choice. How will we know an ordinance will allow wind ? The developer will surely tell you, just as they told everyone the first ordinance voted on was anti-wind.
You, who have a mind to learn more about wind and you who have decided you are against the "wind experiment " will find a vote of no to a pro-wind ordinance will defer all rules and regulations to state control, thereby, making your choice against wind mute.
The people of Rumford and all other area towns of the River Valley deserve a choice. If ordinance is the only manner for doing so, then one that says "no " to wind is the only way to give people a say.
I feel for the selectboards, trying so hard to write " the perfect rules " Dixfield selectboard gave up and now the people of Dixfield must stand for themselves and they will. Carthage people will also end up standing for themselves. Peru is seeking the people's help. Canton is to be heard from. Roxbury is quiet right now, but I'm sure they will be heard from soon. Wilton, Buckfield, Phillips and several other towns throughout Maine presented ordinances of choice and the people spoke.
The Rumford selectboard is under pressure and you could surely feel it last night. Now, the people need to help them and themselves by telling them to put forth an ordinance that gives " a say " in the matter.

Mr McKay

Stay in Dixfield and leave your political views to assist with the downfall of Dixfield. The Rumford selectpersons minus the tandem two will now take the state template and gear it to what is best for the town of Rumford. It's people like you that create negative pressures which leads to controversy. Then add the local channel that won't show the excellent clip of the windfarm in NH to our area residences because it shows windpower in a positive light. Anti winders trying to control the area through negative pursuation on all fronts. Good reporting covers all the bases not just yours and that is what the news reporters are doing, SORRY!

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