Dixfield man escorted from board meeting after exchange

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:oo p.m. to clarify information about a town meeting vote in May of 2011.

Eileen M. Adams/Sun Journal

Dixfield resident Fremont Tibbetts shows selectmen Monday night the petition he wants to circulate to bring another wind power ordinance before voters. The petition does not have the text of the proposed ordinance attached.

DIXFIELD — Anti-wind power activist Freemont Tibbetts was escorted from Monday night's selectmen's meeting after a contentious exchange about putting another ordinance before voters.

The Dixfield resident said he wanted a guarantee from the board that it would allow another ordinance to go up for a vote if he and other anti-wind activists gathered enough signatures.

Selectmen said they could not guarantee they would do that.

Selectman Bob Withrow told him he had read his proposed ordinance.

“It's an ordinance to prevent wind projects. And the town doesn't have to have an ordinance,” he said.

“I say give the people the vote. We need an ordinance,” Tibbetts said. “Do I need a lawyer ?”

“It's your choice,” Chairman Steve Donahue said.

“I'd better be getting a lawyer,” Tibbetts responded.

“We're not telling you to get a lawyer. You need to distribute your ordinance and give people a chance to read it,” Selectman Norine Clarke said.

Following about 40 minutes of sometimes contentious words between Tibbetts and selectmen, police Chief Richard Pickett escorted Tibbetts out of the Town Office.

The question of whether to create a municipal wind ordinance was prompted by a planned industrial wind turbine project for the Colonel Holman Mountain ridgeline by Patriot Renewables LLC of Massachusetts.

Town Manager Eugene Skibitksy said Tuesday that the board has no responsibility to place another ordinance before townspeople because a proposal to devise an ordinance was voted down at a town meeting in May of 2011. With that action, the town has agreed to follow the state Department of Environmental Protection regulations for wind development.

In other matters Monday, Clarke announced a search for someone to take over the leadership of the Outdoor Market Committee, which is the town's largest community event. She has led the annual project for many years.

Read a copy of the ordinance Tibbetts is proposing below.

Wind

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 's picture

Dixfield needs a WIND ordinance.

.• On a motion from Mrs. Harvey and a second from Mr. Gill, the Board voted unanimously to remove the ballot question from the Special Town
Meeting ballot warrant. The ballot removed stated: “Shall an ordinance
entitled WIND ENERGY FACILITY ORDINANCE FOR THE TOWN
OF DIXFIELD as proposed by the Dixfield Wind Ordinance Committee,
be enacted?”

 's picture

Wind vs. Citizen

c. Wind Ordinance – Patriot Renewables: Tom Carroll, Project Coordinator
for Patriot Renewables, LLC, brought to the Board several concerns that were
found by his lawyers regarding the proposed Wind Energy Facility Ordinance for
the Town of Dixfield. The ordinance was supposed to be neutral to development,
but it will become impossible for any wind project to take place due to the
following:
• In the definition for a WEFU (Wind Energy Facility Unit), the committee
included roads and power lines in the definition and required a four
thousand (4,000’) foot set-back from any home which makes it physically
impossible to do any project.
• The committee used a four thousand (4,000’) foot set-back to include a
survey of wetlands. The State of Maine standard is a one hundred twentyfive (125’) foot set-back, and Patriot Renewables does not own property
four thousand (4,000’) feet from every turbine. The company cannot be
responsible for surveying property they do not own.
• The C-Weighted Standard for noise is written with 45-55 DBA (Decipal
A-Weighted Scale) and is different than the C-Weighted Scale; the CWeighted Scale has no standard.

 's picture

depict the wishes

Selectman Donahue stated that the town
could not gear the project to just five (5)

landowners and “torpedo” the whole project. Five people could not govern the
entire

town.

. Selectman Donahue agreed with
Selectman Clarke that four people was not a fair depiction of the town’s
wishes in
dictating if the project would go forward or not.

They did their homework. Their ordinance would exclude any landowners 4000 feet away.

In other words, the 300+ property owners with-in 2 miles from this project do not count.

 's picture

why Peru adopts Rumford Ordinance

Rumford is a leader and after 3 votes, you know legal has looked at it.

What did Patriot Renewables say was wrong with Clarke and
Donahue's ordinance?

 's picture

http://www.sunjournal.com/news/river-valley/2012/02/29/dixfield-

Also during the meeting, Dan McKay of Dixfield asked if the board had intentions of moving forward with a wind ordinance he presented last month.

McKay said if the board wasn't going to take action, he would start a petition to have the ordinance placed on the ballot in June.

"I would rather have it go to the people, to petition it and have it vote on," he said.

Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky advised the board and McKay that he believed because the town had already voted on the issue of drafting a wind ordinance, selectman may not have to honor a petition on the matter.

McKay said he believes it is still an important issue and since the previous town vote many citizens have educated themselves about wind projects.

McKay said he hopes to hold multiple informational meetings about the ordinance during the petition process so others can educate themselves about wind power.

Selectmen Norine Clarke and Steve Donahue questioned if McKay had received legal help when writing the ordinance. McKay said he had not but would, if needed.

Clarke and Donahue had previously drafted an ordinance and said the time and funding for the project was high due to a need for legal advice.

Selectman Malcolm Gill said if he was to support any wind ordinance, it would be the one Clarke and Donahue had drafted.

McKay was also asked if there was a committee that helped to create the ordinance. He said he was the sole author but he had received help from various persons and had conducted a large amount of research on the topic.

The board decided to take no action and to allow McKay to start a petition.

 's picture

Am I misreading this ? , the

Am I misreading this ? , the Dixfield town manager and select board are challenging the people's right to vote ?

SCOTT THISTLE's picture
staff

The town voted on an ordinance

The story notes the town already voted down an ordinance at an earlier town meeting Dan. How many votes on wind power does the town have to take?

"Town Manager Eugene Skibitksy said Tuesday that the board has no responsibility to place another ordinance before townspeople because the last one was voted down at a town meeting. With that action, the town has agreed to follow the state Department of Environmental Protection regulations for wind development"

 's picture

There has never been a wind

There has never been a wind ordinance voted on in Dixfield, whether at town meeting or ballot vote. The article, as written, is misleading the voters in believing an ordinance was voted on. The SJ needs to contact me to set the story straight and provide some balance to the opinions being expressed at the select board meetings and by the wind developer. I am the author to a wind ordinance we are petitioning to bring to vote in June.

SCOTT THISTLE's picture
staff

You are right Dan.

The story is in error. At town meeting last May townspeople voted against doing any ordinance at all and to go with state regulations. We will correct this story and note the error. So they didn't vote down an ordinance, they voted down ever doing an ordinance. We will get the story corrected. Dan we are told you were not at the meeting Monday night -- were you there?

 's picture

Scott, the vote at the town

Scott, the vote at the town meeting took place at 9:30 pm on a weeknight and after 3 and a half hours of contentious give and take over municipal budget items. People were tired and an offer to discuss wind regulations wasn't too appealing and was voted down 30-25. This article only asked if people wanted to discuss the regulation process. It ran into bad timing. The question of whether to adopt DEP regulations in lieu of establishing our own regulations was never a part of this article. Your paper needs to talk to others beyond the town manager and bring truth to your stories.

SCOTT THISTLE's picture
staff

Was Tibbetts escorted out of the meeting last night or not?

We fixed the mistake in this story Dan. If you want to email me a copy of your proposed ordinance for Dixfield and I'll put a copy of it up with the story so people can read it themselves. I think peoples should get to see the proposed ordinance for themselves, that would be great. Also if people are discouraged by the selectmen, they should run for those seats when the terms are up. If the majority of voters in Dixfield are opposed to the actions of this board you would think they would be voted out. That's usually how it works.
Thanks,
Scott
sthistle@sunjournal.com

 's picture

Windfall Movie

Sunday March 4, 2012 Dixfield High School at 2 pm. A documentary of turbines in a small town. Come see how this small town handled it.

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