PERU — The Planning Board agreed Tuesday night to gather information to write an industrial wind ordinance, after reviewing questionnaires returned by residents.
Members also agreed to work on a moratorium on wind power developments in case a company applies for a project in town.
The questionnaire asked residents to choose one of three options on how the town should regulate commercial wind power development:
* Zoning had 77 check marks.
* Developing an ordinance more strict than the state regulations, but not banning wind development, had 40 check marks.
* Using existing Maine Department of Environmental Protection regulations had 54 check marks.
Some board members said they saw the survey results as a no vote on wind power. A total of 171 questionnaires were returned.
Bill Hine said that although there were 77 votes for zoning, the other two options had a total of 94 votes, which he did not see as residents being against wind power development.
J.R. Worthington noted that the muddy Androscoggin River was evidence of material coming off mountains where wind turbines are being erected.
Warren Oldham said he had been to some of the sites and the roads being built to them were destroying acres and acres of timber.
Resident Kevin Benedict was concerned about the runoff going into streams and ponds. He suggested that the Planning Board write an ordinance to protect the most vulnerable mountains.
Hine mentioned that the Comprehensive Plan addresses the protection of mountains at risk.
Resident Warren MacFawn said there are already wind turbines visible from some mountains in town.
“There are over 50 in place and approved around us,” MacFawn said. "We can already see 11 on Spruce Mountain in Woodstock. Aesthetically we are surrounded. We are not isolated."
At the end of the discussion, Chairman Steve Fuller said that due to time constraints, he would no longer act as chairman and asked the board to choose another. Bill Hine was elected.