Work under way on third Rumford wind ordinance

RUMFORD — Selectmen began work Thursday night to create a new wind power ordinance.

It's the third attempt by town officials.

The first proposal, which many believed to be too restrictive, was defeated in November.

The second one, thought to be too liberal, was defeated in June.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said Friday that the board voted to use the ordinance defeated in June as a template. Selectman Jeff Sterling, who drafted the June document, was absent.

Additionally, the board agreed to use the ordinance defeated in November as a reference point. So, to make it easier, Puiia said he created one document with all the strike outs from November's document inserted.

“It was a very positive meeting,” he said.

“I thought all four board members felt good about the process going forward.”

Selectmen agreed to:

* Amend from 45 to 90 the number of days for the Planning Board to notify an applicant that the application is complete.

* Amend from 60 to 90 the number of days that the Planning Board shall approve an application after a public hearing.

* Use “required setback” as language under Distance Requirements.

* Table work on the setback distance for wind turbines from property. The November ordinance sought 5,280 feet; the June ordinance, 3,000 feet.

* Table work on sound modeling, sound standards and sound-related procedures and setback requirements.

* Reinserted language from the November ordinance that requires developers to have a risk assessment plan and to provide a surety to ensure coverage for any damage done to roads or structures.

* Table a decision on the maximum allowed height of wind turbines. The June ordinance sought 450 feet and the November ordinance wanted 400 feet. Boston-based wind developer First Wind, which has proposed a wind farm on Rumford hills, requested 475 feet.

“We covered quite a bit of territory,” Puiia said. “We really had good progress.”

He said the board allowed public input throughout the process, “which pleased the individuals in attendance, I believe.”

The workshop attracted 10 people.

The tabled items will be revisited at a future workshop, but not the one at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, in Rumford Falls Auditorium.

Discussion items at that meeting pertain to the Site Permit Requirements and Standards section and the Operational License, a section from the original ordinance that was deleted for the June ordinance.

Topics include construction sounds from a facility, signal interference, shadow flicker, a security plan and requirements, decommissioning, a mitigation waiver agreement, inspections, and a project phasing plan.

“We know there's a lot to get done where we're going to try to get it on the ballot in November,” Puiia said.

In other business, selectmen tabled a decision on appointing a town attorney, which is done annually.

Puiia said the board tasked him with asking Rumford's other resident attorneys if they'd be interested in the position.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Penny Gray's picture

The residents of rural Maine

The residents of rural Maine towns should be grandfathered. Constitutional rights should be upheld. Protect your neighbors as you would have them protect you. Enact an ordinance that preserves the quality of life and health and property values of rural inland residents. Don't lose site of the fact (no pun intended) that coastal residents are being granted ten to twenty mile setbacks from any off shore wind development in order to protect their "quality of life". This is the very worst kind of discrimination. Shameful. We pay taxes, too. We may not drive Audis and BMWs, but we matter. We love our homes. We love our mountains. We deserve the same ten to twenty mile set backs as our well heeled coastal residents do. Protect us.

Alice Barnett's picture

yippi-ky-i-yi

Kevin, you were not even there.

Thanks to resistance Rumford people are reading between the lines of the media.

World Health Organization guidelines are ambient noise plus 5 dba.
Rural = ambient 25 dba
The noise is especially intrusive because wind energy facilities are often built in rural areas where the ambient sound level may be quite low, especially at night. On the logarithmic decibel (dB) scale, an increase of 10 dB is perceived as a doubling of the noise level. An increase of 6 dB is considered to be a serious community issue. Since a quiet night in the country is typically around 25 dB, the common claim by wind developers of 45 dB at the nearest home would be perceived as a noise four times louder than normal. And because it is intermittent and directional, those affected assert that one can never get used to it. The disruption of sleep alone presents serious health and human rights issues.

Go to this URL and see how over 60 residents will hear 4 times the noise they were used to.

http://www.maine.gov/dep/blwq/docstand/sitelaw/Selected%20developments/2...

Saddleback Wind in South Carthage Maine did not have the decency to tell these 60 residents WIND was coming...

Patriots Renewable is fudging sound modeling by not including STRN (Short Term Repetitive Noise) because no standard testing is available.

Wake up Kevin and read, all you can. Ask windwatch,org any question you have.

Kevin Saisi's picture

...

I didn't have to be there to know what goes on. It is just THAT predictable. :(

Kevin Saisi's picture

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

It is getting old listening to the anti-wind lobbyists spout out the same old crap every time there is an article about wind power.

I am not saying that their information is not valid, nor important, but after a year and a half of listening to the same old record playing over and over, it becomes annoying. I understand that your plan is to annoy people enough to get them to vote an ordinance that you can support. I guess that is how a vocal minority manipulates the process to get their way.

I am not saying that everyone else is pro-wind. Many either don't care or are so tired of hearing you whine that they don't engage in discussion.

My personal opinion is that we need to address the issue fairly without passing an ordinance that effectively bans wind development.

Steve Bulger's picture

Still no answer

Kevin,

Perhaps you and/or Frank could muster the intestinal fortitude to address the very basic questions I raised below. Is it because you don't have answers or that you feel those issues are inconsequential compared to the perceived economic boom promised by Angus and his cronies? Come on, man up and explain your position...or remain mute. Then we'll certainly have your answer.

Well said Kevin

The board of Selectpersons have 3 anti-winders on it. The Planning board has to major anti-winders on it. Should there be an ordinance that protects the town. YES! Should it enable wind development? Yes!But that won't happen because of those people in office an on planning committee. If the 2 planning board members were getting something of value for them they would probably be in favor of wind. Our oil company owners who are getting something for the power line upgrade are doing ok. If a couple of turbines were going to supply power to Black Mtn. like originally told to the old and present Selectboard members (2) then possibly the ountain could convert to total electricity. Woops! what oil company supplies Black Mtn.? Do the people ever ask themselves why the offiliated oil owners would be against wind. Did the Co-gen deal go through yet? Has anyone asked why? Could it cause the mill to file for bankruptcy? Who will be the blame if so? We definately will not be able to afford much then unless we are paying 60 or 70 mils per $1000 on our properties. This is where town leadership is taking us. WAKE UP CITIZENS!

Steve Bulger's picture

Where are the benefits?

Wind power is NOT a foregone conclusion. Ask the pro-wind activists a few essential questions: What becomes of all the electricity generated? Does it provide free or greatly reduced power prices for area residents? How many local workers will be hired for the construction? How many local companies will be utilized for equipment and supplies? After construction is completed how many residual jobs will there be and for whom? Do the benefits offset the destruction and decimation of the pristine mountain tops in the Rumford area?
It would seem that all one has to do is to look at Record Hill in Roxbury to realize that those wind towers will be little more than "a pig in a poke". The only people seeing any tangible benefits are the owners and shareholders of First Wind. The rest of the area gets blown off.

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