Dixfield man escorted from board meeting after exchange

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

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.

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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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