BUCKFIELD — In an almost unanimous vote, over 100 residents passed a six-month moratorium on wind-power development at a special town meeting Wednesday night.

A petition signed by 118 people was filed by James Parker, who lives on Streaked Mountain and is an abutter to the site for three proposed wind turbines. Parker said there are 20 homes within 1 mile of the site.

Parker said when he learned a developer had received a permit to install a test tower eight months ago, he initiated the petition.

He read a statement citing wind-power health issues reported by residents of Mars Hill, Freedom and Vinal Haven.

“We need time to decide a proper distance that is safe,” Parker said.

Art Lindgren, a resident of Vinal Haven who says he lives a half mile from functioning turbines, brought an audio recording made on his front porch. He also had his sound meter to demonstrate to the audience what 48 decibels sounds like, which is what he says he hears from his front porch.

 “We did not have enough time to research before the turbines were installed,” Lindgren said.

After the moratorium passed, Ethan Hall, a resident of Vinal Haven, congratulated the townspeople for giving themselves time to develop an ordinance and study the noise issue.

“Your vote showed prudence that was not recognized in Vinal Haven,” Hall said. “There is a big difference in living with the sound and just visiting the site.” Hall lives a half-mile from the turbines and says he will have to readjust his life.

Selectman Chip Richardson said the mills in town and Lowell Lumber generate at least 48 decibels of noise during the workday.

Stacey Scotia said that she didn’t choose to live near a mill or lumber store, but chose a quiet place in the country for her dream home. Scotia lives on Streaked Mountain near the proposed site. “If we get a yes vote on the moratorium, then we will have time to develop an ordinance that is meaningful and get it done right,” she said.

A resident who helps erect turbines, said he was never bothered by the noise.

An article to accept a wind ordinance was turned down, but not without discussion. Richardson said that the Planning Board had six months to develop an ordinance and hadn’t done it, so the one on the warrant would protect the town.

Warren Wright of the Planning Board said the board would have an ordinance before six months for sure.

The article asking town voters if they wanted to sell Bessey ball field failed, but not without considerable discussion.

Selectman Chairman John Lowell said he was excited about the prospect of moving the lights to the municipal ball field where activities could take place in the center of town.

The lights need to be moved because Tony Bachelder, who has one of the largest bee farms in Maine, said that it was illegal to have the lights in an agricultural area. The lights were never turned on.

“I have no problem with children playing on the field, but I do have a problem with the lights,” he said. 

Chris Reed spoke in favor of selling Bessey Field and having the money to move the lights and develop a field for various activities.

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