Greenwood wind moratorium vote is Wednesday

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GREENWOOD — Voters will decide at a special town meeting Wednesday, April 19, whether to buy a new plow truck, pay for a townwide property revaluation and enact a wind development moratorium ordinance.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall next to the Town Office on Gore Road.

The warrant articles ask voters to appropriate up to $165,000 from the Highway Equipment Reserve Account to purchase a 2018 plow truck, and up to $75,000 from the Revaluation Reserve Account to pay for the revaluation.

 The wind moratorium article was prompted by concerns about the possibility of a commercial wind project on parts of Long, Elwell and Tibbetts mountains. Calpine Inc. has a meteorological tower on Long Mountain to gather information on the viability of a project. Company representatives have said if the project goes forward, towers would likely be 600 feet tall, 200 feet higher than the nearby Spruce Mountain wind facility in Woodstock.

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The 180-day moratorium, if passed, would give the town more time to update the Wind Energy Facility Ordinance to address community concerns about the height, noise and other possible impacts of a project.

At a public hearing on the issue last month, there was some discussion that perceived “inadequacies” in the current wind regulations might not be sufficient to meet state requirements for a moratorium.

But in a subsequent letter to selectmen, town attorney Jim Katsiaficas wrote that there were concerns about noise levels, low-frequency sound impacts, visual impacts and other issues raised at the meeting “where reasonable people could disagree as to whether the town standards and the standards in state law and in Maine DEP rules are sufficient to protect the public. Selectmen therefore could reasonably determine that a moratorium ordinance should be brought to the voters at town meeting to decide whether to adopt a moratorium on the processing of applications and issuance of permits while amendments are discussed and prepared for consideration by the voters at a later town meeting.”

 He said the town could simply proceed with amendments to the ordinance without a moratorium but could risk an application being filed in the meantime.

Katsiaficas advised the adoption of the moratorium ordinance if residents feel there may be inadequacies in the current ordinance that would require amendments.

Town Manager Kim Sparks said last week that while selectmen first considered bringing the moratorium question to the May 20 annual town meeting, residents requested one sooner.

Copies of the moratorium ordinance are available at the Town Office.

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