DIXFIELD — A citizen-inspired ballot question that would essentially ban wind energy development was narrowly defeated Tuesday by a vote of 487-543.
Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said the matter of zoning has never been a favorable issue in his town.
“I'm surprised that it was this close,” he said.
He said selectmen will discuss the implications of that vote, and the results of other local issues, when they meet Monday.
Tom Carroll, project coordinator for Patriot Renewables LLC, which is the Quincy, Mass., firm that has proposed building up to 13 wind energy turbines along the Colonel Holman Mountain ridgeline, said Tuesday night that he is grateful that people decided not to selectively zone privately owned mountains.
“We have much work to do. This allows our project to go forward on a positive note,” he said.
The citizen petition called for banning any development above the elevation of 1,000 feet on Colonel Holman and Sugarloaf mountains except for logging and communication towers.
The petition was circulated by local residents, Dan McKay and Freemont Tibbetts.
The proposed Timberlands project calls for up to 13 turbines that would create 20-33 megawatts of power and cost between $40 and $66 million.
Patriots has several other projects in the works in various stages of development. The Dixfield project could eventually connect with planned projects in Canton, Carthage and Woodstock.