ROXBURY — In an effort to gain local
voting rights while making a last-ditch attempt to prevent a wind
power developer from installing 22 turbines on town hills, Robert
Montgomery launched a secessionist movement on Wednesday.

Montgomery, a former Auburn resident
who recently moved to Rumford, is also a Roxbury Pond camp owner. His family has owned two camps in the Sunset Cove area
for 60 years. The pond is also called Silver Lake.

He said he pays $4,000 a year in taxes
on the property to Roxbury, but is not allowed to vote, because he is a seasonal camp owner.

Montgomery said he and a group of
other camp owners are in the process of forming a delegation to meet
with Andover officials to talk about seceding from Roxbury and joining Andover.

They also want to create their own town
or village called Silver Lake, within the town of Andover, and annex into it all Roxbury land west
of the Swift River and north to Byron, and east of Andover and south
to Mexico.

“The people have had it with the town
of Roxbury not following the will of the people at Roxbury lake,”
Montgomery said, reiterating what he said he was told after Tuesday
night’s Roxbury selectmen meeting.

There, selectmen voted 2-1 to deny a
citizen-initiated petition that would have prevented — pending
majority town meeting vote — wind power developer Record Hill Wind
LLC from installing its proposed $120 million windmill project on
town hills.

Roxbury Pond residents who list their
voter registration town or city as other than Roxbury, have not been
allowed to vote on the wind power project, which will directly affect
their properties.

The giant windmills will be very
visible from atop the ridges lining the pond’s eastern side.

“This is it, we’re leaving,”
Montgomery said. “We’re sick of being totally ignored. Roxbury Pond
has always been the bastard child of Roxbury village.”

Anne Morin, a member of the Silver Lake
Camp Owners Board of Directors, said early Wednesday evening in
Roxbury that Montgomery’s secession movement isn’t adhered to by the
association.

“We’re not behind it, but it’s a nice
thought, calming and soothing, but I don’t see that getting any
support at this point,” Morin said. “But, at this point, anything
to stop the (wind power) steamroller gives people hope.”

She was referring to the Maine
Department of Environmental Protection’s green light given on Tuesday
to Record Hill Wind principals Angus King and Robert Gardiner by
conditionally approving their project.

All that hangs in the way now is Maine DEP
Commissioner David Littell’s consent and signature on Record Hill
Wind’s site plan review permit. That is expected to happen Thursday, Aug. 20. Once it does, the project can commence
construction.

And that is what Montgomery says he’s
trying to thwart, by getting camp owners to secede from Roxbury and
claim the privately-owned land on which the towers are to be built as
belonging to the yet to be officially recognized town or village of
Silver Lake.

“I say, ‘Good luck,’ to him, but I
don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” Morin said.

For decades, Roxbury Pond camp owners
have contemplated seceding from Roxbury to become their own village,
but it’s never happened. Montgomery believes he and others can
succeed.

“I’m not against wind power, just
what they’re trying to do at Roxbury Pond,” Montgomery said. “This
is going to explode.”

“Like I said, the Frye bridge is not
the bridge at Lexington and Concord, but, hopefully, we can get to
the association meeting and fire the shot heard round the world,”
he added, referring to a local bridge near the Roxbury town
office and the start of the American Revolution.

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Tranquil views like this one on Wednesday of a West Shore Road camp on Roxbury Pond (also called Silver Lake), in Roxbury will be changed forever in a year when a wind power developer constructs its proposed giant windmills along the wooded ridge in the background.


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