Third wind power ordinance approved by Rumford selectmen

RUMFORD — Selectmen are hoping the third time is a charm after unanimously voting for a proposed Wind Energy Facility Ordinance on Thursday night.

Erin Cox/Sun Journal

Peter Buotte of Rumford addresses Rumford selectmen Thursday night during the public hearing portion of a meeting concerning the approval of a third wind power ordinance. The board voted to approve the ordinance and send it to voters in November.

Voters will decide in November whether to adopt it.

"I think the board accomplished what they set out to do, which was make a compromise on the ordinance and protect the citizens," Town Manager Carlo Puiia said.

He said the evidence was in the setbacks from property lines, sound decibels and decommissioning of turbines.

In the first ordinance, which was often referred to as an anti-wind ordinance, the setback for turbines was 5,280 feet. The second ordinance put forth had the setback at 3,000 feet. The latest draft has a setback of 4,000 feet.

During the public hearing on the ordinance before the board met, Selectman Jeremey Volkernick expressed concerns over limiting the number of turbines for a project for at least the first year.

"I feel very strongly having limits for the first year to see how things go, because if these go up and things don't go the way we expect the only leg we have to stand on is this ordinance," he said.

Selectman Greg Buccina disagreed with putting in a set number to limit turbines and said the board had to find common ground.

"We are starting off with something that will probably end up being changed. That's why we have an amendment process," Buccina said. "This isn't going to be perfect but at least it's a start."

Puiia suggested adding language that would allow the town to deny or limit the total number of wind towers based on the need to study each project, manage growth, or consider any cumulative effects.

Selectmen agreed, saying adding Puiia's suggestion would best fit each person's concern for limiting the number of wind towers and any possible litigation that would occur with a set number.

Albert Aniel, who offered opinions and information at most of the workshops, said he believed, overall, the ordinance was very good.

"I think this one is based more on science than emotion and leaves the door open for wind energy to come into town," he said. "I think these type of standards that protect the environment and people need to be followed for any industry that comes to town."

Jim Thibodeau, who was on the first wind ordinance committee, said he still believed the original ordinance was what the town needed. He said he thought the town was given a lot of misquotes and were led to believe that the committee was made up of anti-wind citizens.

"I think this is a compromise and the board set out to do what we need to do to protect the citizens," Thibodeau said. "I'm not anti-wind. I just want to protect the town."

In other news, the charter amendment to allow the town to hire nonresidents for the town auditor, town attorney, code enforcement officer, plumbing inspector, and sealer of weights and measures was passed unanimously by the board.

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Comments

Mark Belanger's picture

You know darn well if Aniel

You know darn well if Aniel is for this ordinace it will not allow a wind project in this area. This ordinace tramples on land owner rights and should be voted down. Millions of dollars for the Town of Rumford will be lost forever if this is passed. The evolving DEP standards are the best way to protect the town.

 's picture

The Rumford selectmen have

The Rumford selectmen have done a good job with a very difficult subject.

There are environmental and energy issues involving industrial wind, and these technical matters should be solved using real science.

Until they are, the citizens deserve all the protection they can get.

 's picture

wind towers

Drive to Roxbury. Want to buy some property there?
Wind Turbines will dominate the area. No tourism promoted. No property sales. No wildlife habitats. No recreation on that ridge anymore. What is your tax base in five years after these machines have been depreciated?
In all fairness though, once the area is changed to industry mankind kind of gets used to it all. No more eagles.
Hey we grew up with the dirty Androscroggin. Thought it was a way of life.

Wind In-Wind Out

Mr. Thibodeau to say that the committee you were on was not made up of anti-winders is an outright lie. You continually try to make yourself look good but the citizens are wise to you. Unfortunately the voters have voted in no do gooders on this board right now;and one has taken over your spot as an outright dictator. Well maybe MR. Sterling and Mr. Adley show, occasionally, a bit of brilliance. A hand full of voters in town,the board and the anti wind group from the River Valley have created the sign "THIS TOWN NOT OPEN FOR BUSINESS". So whatever happens from here on in is anyones guessing game. Maybe now the Town Manager will set directions to do something with the destructive trees on Congress Street and get rid of the trees entering Rumford from Route 108 so you can see the town as you enter. Back to taking care of this town properly should be this Boards ,now, priority.

Mark Belanger's picture

Right on Frank !!!!!

Right on Frank !!!!!

 's picture

This ordinance doesn't ban

This ordinance doesn't ban wind energy facilities outright. It is an appeal to the turbine industry to achieve technological advances to alleviate known sound effects from current machines. A tremendous market may open up for wind energy facilities if engineers come up with solutions to unwanted sounds. Litigation and complaints will multiply as more and more of these machines are put up without advancing the technology required to quiet them down.
The wind in Rumford is not going to disappear. If turbine engineers can develop a quieter machine , this ordinance gives them an opportunity to exist in Rumford. All this ordinance is asking for is a reduction of 5 decibels.
If developers would stop spending their resources fighting reduced noise levels and concentrated on improving their machines, they would find themselves in a more acceptable position. Meeting consumer demands is not anything new to the free market. Every business focuses on satisfaction to the customers.

 's picture

all I can say is....

no comment

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