DIXFIELD — The Board of Selectmen discussed several revisions made to the Wind Energy Facility Ordinance with lawyer Kristin Collins for more than two hours during Monday evening’s meeting at the Ludden Memorial Library.

The ordinance was approved in 2012 and revisions began in January 2013.

Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., approached Dixfield officials three years ago about constructing 13 wind turbines on the Colonel Holman Mountain ridge. The corporation has been conducting research on the ridge, including wind tests, bird studies and environmental impacts.

The Planning Board completed revisions this month and met with selectmen to review them. Selectmen agreed the board did an admirable job with its recommendations, but said there were still issues they wanted to clear up before approving a final draft.

Much of the board’s conversation with Collins during Monday evening’s meeting centered around whether Sugarloaf Mountain, Webb River Falls and Colonel Holman Mountain should be included as scenic resources.

“It was conveyed to us during a joint meeting with the Planning Board that initially, in the first draft of the ordinance, the scenic resources were protected, but in the second draft, there were no protections of any of the scenic resources in our Comprehensive Plan,” Selectman Hart Daley said. “We had an issue with that. When we asked why none of them were in the revised ordinance, they said there was no way to identify the actual boundary of a scenic resource.”


Collins replied, “Well, that’s true, in some sense. If you were a town that had a zoning map, you could have had those places zoned off already. You’d be fine to do that and reference a zoning map when making your ordinance. It’s a little harder when you have a Comprehensive Plan, and you’re trying to define very particularly where the boundaries are.”

Collins later added that the Comprehensive Plan itself was “vague” and acted as a “mission statement,” not a document that governs what the town can or cannot do with the scenic resources.

Daley said that his goal in revising the ordinance was to “try to identify the natural- land boundaries” of the three scenic resources identified in the Comprehensive Plan.

Collins said that the “biggest question” is whether the setbacks to the scenic resources would “effectively zone out wind development in Dixfield.”

Selectman Dana Whittemore asked Collins, “Aren’t we here to protect the people of the town? We’re not here to find ways to get wind turbines in place. We’re here, first and foremost, to protect the health of our residents.”

“I’m not sure if you were here when I first met with the town, but my big thesis was that you can be as restrictive as you want until you reach the point where you effectively zone them out of town,” Collins replied. “Then you start getting into prejudicial territory.”


“We’re not trying to be anti-wind,” Chairman Scott Belskis said. “We’re trying to be pro-Dixfield.”

Belskis later added that “even if we zone them out of an area where they would’ve put two turbines, that still leaves 10 or 11 other turbines that they can still build. We’re not trying to be anti-wind here. We just want to make sure we’re fair to the people of Dixfield.”

Collins said that Dixfield could zone out the resources where they didn’t want wind turbines, “as long as there was a basis for it. The Comprehensive Plan just isn’t descriptive enough to cut it.”

She added that if the town were to place the revised ordinance before voters with no setbacks on the scenic resources — even though the scenic resources were listed in the town’s Comprehensive Plan — the ordinance would remain legal, as the language of the Comprehensive Plan acted more as “guidelines,” and not an official restriction.

As of deadline, the selectmen and Collins remained in talks about revisions to the wind ordinance.

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