Hearing on Rumford wind ordinance evokes passions

RUMFORD — Thursday night's public hearing by selectmen on their proposed wind ordinance revealed possible holes in the document that a developer might take advantage of, according to some who spoke.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Former Rumford Town Manager Len Greaney urges residents at Thursday night's Board of Selectmen public hearing to defeat the proposed wind ordinance and have selectmen rework it.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Former Rumford Selectman Jim Thibodeau at Thursday night's Rumford Board of Selectmen public hearing seeks answers to questions on the proposed wind ordinance, such as why the board removed third-party arbitration language from the defeated ordinance.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Rumford small business owner Dan Richard tells selectmen at Thursday night's public hearing on the board's proposed wind ordinance that if wind power brings only one new job to town, he would welcome it. He also said he believes the ordinance will work.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Rumford resident Peter Buotte tells selectmen at a public hearing Thursday night that they rushed through creating the proposed wind ordinance without cross-checking the ramifications of removing certain protective measures from the defeated ordinance.

The meeting also revealed a lackluster attendance by many who will vote on the document at town meeting polls on June 14.

Those who did attend mostly criticized the board for trying to rush through an ordinance without realizing the ramifications of paring significant protective measures built into the first ordinance that was defeated on Nov. 2, 2010.

A few thanked the board for its work. But two selectmen, Greg Buccina and Jeremy Volkernick, who voted against the ordinance, urged residents to defeat the ordinance and force the board to spend more time creating a “better” document.

The meeting began with Chairman Brad Adley reiterating the history of wind ordinance writing to the new proposal, which was expedited from Selectman Jeff Sterling's rewrite last month of the first ordinance to place it on the town meeting warrant.

Reading from a prepared statement, Sterling said that once he got into the ordinance, “it became clear that there was no tweaking, (instead) there was going to be major revisions that would eliminate many layers of protections that were put in place.”

Those protections, he said, caused voters to defeat the first proposed ordinance.

“It will be up to the voters to decide if we went too far or possibly not far enough,” he said.

Volkernick said the board didn't have the time it needed to craft a balanced ordinance, urged people to read the document and said he didn't approve of it.

“I think we as a board fell down with this ordinance,” Buccina said. “We need to do this over. ... Guys, we failed miserably.”

“If you vote for this ordinance, I think you should buckle up,” he said, reiterating that the board should be fair to Rumford residents and not wind developers.

Buccina urged voters not to accept the ordinance.

Selectman Mark Belanger labeled the document a “reasonable ordinance with good protections.”

Businessman Dan Richard said he believes the ordinance is good.

“If it puts one new job in this town, as a small business owner, I welcome it,” he said.

Former Rumford Town Manager Len Greaney sought the board's rationale in changing six items from the defeated ordinance, among which are decommissioning, sound and safety setbacks, and sound levels.

He urged people to “vote down the ordinance and take another look at it” and pull Boston-based wind developer First Wind into discussions, since it has been in a holding pattern for two years with a project.

Resident Peter Buotte told the board that it took out the definition of “short duration repetitive sound,” leaving that up to interpretation by lawyers.

To which Sterling said, “We aren't scientists. We took what was defeated and made it less restrictive.”

Resident Rita Aromaa worried about the allowed increased sound levels and who she should complain to should that be a problem.

“Every word you changed can have a significant impact,” businessman Roger Arsenault said.

He didn't think the ordinance was ready.

Former Selectman Jim Thibodeau agreed. He asked the board why it removed language on third-party arbitration and the requirement that wind developers get operational licenses.

“This is a Swiss-cheese ordinance and I highly recommend that the town vote this down and have the board or a committee work on it again,” Thibodeau said.

Discussion continued in such manner before a few shouting matches and innuendos began flying between Belanger and Thibodeau and between Buccina and former Selectman Arthur Boivin.

Adley had to yell at them to quiet them, before proceeding to the next speaker.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Respect your neighbors

How ironic that a town with such a rich renewable resource as hydro would be toying with such a weak renewable as wind. This issue is clearly tearing the town apart, but the invasion of industrial wind has done this in every single town in Maine that they've invaded and tried to conquer. This turns neighbor against neighbor. How tragic and sad. There's no doubt that some would throw their neighbors under a bus for a few bucks or one single job. Stand up for your quality of life, Rumford. That's all any of us can do. You have a beautiful town, a beautiful landscape. Defend it. Protect it. Respect your neighbors.

Gary Steinberg's picture

You Can Ordinace Them out, First Wind Lies!

In Lincoln, as is probably being done right now in Rumford, the council was influenced, bribed, coerced, and lied to, saying, "We will take legal action against you."
The same things occur wherever they go. NY State developed an ethics code against their underhanded dealings, but Maine has no effective protections, other than aware citizens defending their rights.
First wind is a cabal of underhanded liars!

This is the same old crap modus operandi used wherever these scoundrels go.
They have disdain for you and the law. Their pretty faces hide their sinister goals.
You can, and I repeat this, you can, ordinance them out!

Do so, or be ruined like Lincoln was. Those opponents of the project are heroes in Rumford.
They are responding with facts and knowledge.
Listen to them. Ordinance out First Wind, or be ruined, for naught.
Come to Lincoln, and see for yourself what has occurred.
Go to Mars Hill and talk to the residents on the east side. Talk to the abutters on Vinalhaven.Go to Freedom, speak to the Bennetts.
Do not let your isolation define your decisions and fact procurement. You are being played as if you are foolish fish, biting at a juicy worm.
Do you not have more brains than a haddock?
They never destroy their own spawning grounds, but Rumford is about to, and thinks they have no control because the fisherman says the hook won't bite!
There is time to do the right thing, use it.

Gary Steinberg's picture

Come up and Visit Lincoln, then Vote Them Out!

A picture is worth a thousand words, and seeing is believing.
Visit Lincoln and see the once " Land of 13 Lakes", (now ruined).
See the Land of 40 Turbines!

It is a good place to visit , and leave quickly after seeing the blades spin and the noise spread.

Then decide, non-self - serving residents of Rumford!

Don't let the Scoundrels and financial sell-outs take your towns sole for greed and subsidy scamming.

Gary Steinberg's picture

Don't be Fools like Lincoln was. Come visit, then restrict them

Now properties are for sale with no buyers in Lincoln, people are aghast at the project. It is too late for the fools in Lincoln, don't add to the fools of Rumford!

Always remember this; they are All Despicable Snake Oil Salesmen.

They(First Wind) have probably bought off several selectmen in all probability, and had secret session illegal meetings, the modus operandi of First Wind in Maine.

They are neither virtuous nor wise. The developers like King and First Wind are mostly cynical profiteers out to make a buck, who pull the necessary strings and grease the necessary palms to win their approvals.They are opportunists who travel to financially distressed rural areas of Maine and entice unsuspecting residents and rural folks to sign their lease agreements which neuter their rights to their own land.Most of the others are ill-informed and idealistic-and maybe a bit impulsive-who have no idea what they are in for once the blades of the industrial energy generator begin to spin. They reassure energy committees and town fathers that everything will be fine. They bribe with other half baked schemes. Talk is cheap!

They are no more than despicable snake oil scoundrels and salesmen, using political influence and your tax dollar to make millions off the backs of Mainers to scam taxes and desecrate environment.

Believe nothing they say , and kick them out, or you will be ruined, like Lincoln was.

 's picture

i work nights could not

i work nights could not attend, but i will tell you i am for the wind ordinance , i agree that if it brings one job i am for it.i encourage everyone to vote for it!

Gary Steinberg's picture

You are an obviuos self server, RECUSE YOURSELF

How much money do you make by your support?
How much did they pay you?

 's picture

UNCALLED FOR

your marks are insulting and uncalled for just bcause i different view then yours doesnt mean you can be insulting!if you want to debate fine if you want to be insulting well we have no time for you!

Gary Steinberg's picture

No answer given?

The question is most basic, and presently unanswered.

 's picture

property values

okay so we are killing the earth with these wind turbines. Bats, birds, bugs, water tables altered.
Any one with-in sight of these farms has their property de valued.

Year 1+2 look good for the taxes. year 3 school, county and revenue sharing kick in. By year 10 the turbines are depreciated to 50%. Your tax base is going away.

In the 10 year interim land values with-in miles of these farms is also gone.

What happens when you have a bankrupt town? No services.

I have lived off the grid without services for 10 years now.

Wind is a scam. It will kill Rumford.

 's picture

governor le page

Kevin,
This is not about "green" energy.
The fact these turbines will be turned down at night because of noise violations tells you it is not about generating power.
The fact that the media touts full capacity when quoting how many homes it will power up is a LIE.
Wind blows less than 25% of the time.
Wind turbines still need power when wind is not blowing.
10 - 30% loss in transmission lines pretty much puts wind in a negative production category.
One job, maybe.

 's picture

Procedure

Alice, I am not addressing wind power, I am speaking about the ordinance. Based upon the comments made by many, it is obvious that they want to block, not regulate wind power. Unfortunately, the rules do not allow us to do that, so we need to approve an ordinance that will regulate it without blocking it.

Gary Steinberg's picture

Any Community can Ordinance Out Turbines

Communities under home rule preserve natural rights to preserve their land, air and water.
Communities can totally ordinance out by local rule wind turbines.
See http://www.celdf.org ( Citizens Environmental Legal Defense Fund . Contact chad@celdf.org)
"Civil Disobedience Ordinances" are fully called for in this respect. Rumford,do it or be ruined. The selectmen who say you have no right to regulate out by ordinance are being told distorted facts by the wind lobby and First Wind, or are being bribed or otherwise self-serving and protecting themselves. Recall them, disobey their preaching, confront them.
Do not give in.
Get the facts. Stop the process before those in control metasticize beyond control in your communitiy like they did in Lincoln, where the citizens were lied to consistently . First Wind is controlling your process, and some selectmen are probably under their direct influence now.
DON'T BE FOOLS!
Fight it tooth and nail, or YOU WILL BE SORRY.
Come to Lincoln and see what is at stake.

 's picture

Won't be satisfied

The 12-15 citizens who constantly show up at the ordinance hearings and meetings are generally tied to the original ordinance that was voted down. That ordinance would have been a de-facto ban on wind power in Rumford. This small group will say anything they have to to discredit anything less than the previously defeated ordinance. They don't want wind power in the valley, and they are trying very hard to keep it from happening. I commend them on their persistence. However, the law does not permit us to ban wind power, and if we did, the state and developers could cause legal problems for the town. Those opposed to wind power claim that wind power will have detrimental affects on people who will, in turn, sue the town for not protecting them. But if the town has an ordinance in place that is at least as restrictive as ordinances in other towns, they will have done what is reasonably expected in addressing the issue.

Gary Steinberg's picture

There is No Law when dealing with First Wind

In Lincoln, as is probably being done right now in Rumford, the council was influenced, bribed, coerced, and lied to, saying, "We will take legal action against you." They lied!
The same things occur wherever they go. NY State developed and ethics code against the underhanded dealing, but Maine has no effective protections, other than aware citizens defending their rights.
First Wind is a cabal of underhanded liars!

This is the same old crap modus operandi used wherever these scoundrels go.
They have disdain for you and the law. Their pretty faces hide their sinister goals.
You can, and I repeat this, you must ordinance them out!

Do so, or be ruined like Lincoln was. Those opponents of the project are heroes in Rumford.
They are responding with facts and knowledge.
Listen to them. Ordinance out First Wind, or be ruined, for naught.
Come to Lincoln, and see for yourself what has occurred.
Go to Mars Hill and talk to the residents on the east side. Talk to the abutters on Vinalhaven.Go to Freedom, speak to the Bennetts.Visit Lincoln. Don't be fools.
Do not let your isolation define your decisions and fact procurement. You are being played as if you are foolish fish, biting at a juicy worm.
Do you not have more brains than a haddock?
Haddock never destroy their own spawning grounds, but Rumford is about to, and thinks they have no control because the fisherman says the hook won't bite!
There is time to do the right thing.

Gary Steinberg's picture

And how much money are you selling Rumford's sole for huh?

How much ?

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