DIXFIELD — After being berated Tuesday night by several townspeople who called them anti-wind, selectmen approved sending the Planning Board’s draft ordinance and two selectmen amendments to a June referendum vote.

The amendments include decommissioning costs paid 100 percent upfront by a wind developer and a low-frequency sound limit of 50 decibels post-construction without contribution from other ambient sounds for properties a mile or more away from state highways or other major roads, and 55 decibels for properties closer than a mile from such roads.

Additionally, the post-construction low-frequency background sound level less the pre-construction low-frequency sound level must be less than 20 decibels outside any occupied structure’s property line.

Selectman Mac Gill initially moved to put the Planning Board’s draft ordinance before referendum voters in June. But that failed for lack of a second from Selectmen Dana Whittemore, Norman Mitchell, Hart Daley or Chairman Scott Belskis.

Whittemore said he would only vote to approve it if it included the decommissioning rule, while Daley held out for the low-frequency sound rule. Once those were included, Whittemore made the motion and it was seconded and approved 4-1, with Gill the lone dissenter.

The new motion came on the heels of the town’s rejection of the selectmen-amended Wind Energy Facility Ordinance at the polls on Nov. 4. The original tally was 557-562. A recount was sought that increased the rejection margin. That tally was 553-567.


Dixfield voters approved a selectmen-drafted ordinance in 2012 to regulate wind development.

However, selectmen voted to place it before the Planning Board at the beginning of 2013 for revisions to make it more consistent, to fine-tune gray areas into more defined language as far as procedure, and to make it a regulatory ordinance instead of a zoning ordinance, Dixfield Town Manager Carlo Puiia said Wednesday morning.

During a year and a half of revisions and discussions, selectmen met with the Planning Board and reviewed their recommendations. Then later, without the Planning Board’s participation, selectmen voted to make amendments and placed the question on the Nov. 4 ballot to repeal the original ordinance and adopt the amended version.

One of those amendments was requiring a 4,000-foot setback of wind turbines to any occupied structure unless the owner approved an easement, Puiia said. The Planning Board had only asked for a 2,000-foot setback from any property line, he said.

Wind developer Patriot Renewables of Quincy, Mass., has been waiting for Dixfield to approve an ordinance.

Developers approached Dixfield officials three years ago about constructing a 20-megawatt wind turbine project on the Colonel Holman Mountain ridge. This would be closer to East Dixfield village. Belskis, Mitchell and Daley live the closest to the proposed project and its transmission line, a fact that was raised by more than one person Tuesday night.


Tom Carroll, project coordinator of Patriot Renewables, has objected to the 4,000-foot setback, saying it would render the wind project unfeasible economically, Puiia said.

Several people at Tuesday night’s meeting slammed all but Gill, calling them wind-power opponents who did not represent all Dixfield citizens.

Donald Litwin read the ballot for the selectmen’s initial ordinance that was approved 651-622.

“A yes vote means that the wind farm will be allowed in the towns,” Litwin said. “A no vote means that selectmen will begin the process of prohibiting wind farms in the towns.

“With this vote, this should not even be happening right now,” Litwin said of ongoing attempts by selectmen to amend the Planning Board ordinance for another vote. “This vote should have stood and not kept being brought up.”

Daley said that first ordinance was a zoning ordinance with a zoning map. He said a lawyer advised them to remove the zoning information and make it a regulatory ordinance.


“The Planning Board did that, and then you took it upon yourselves to make it an anti-wind ordinance,” one man said.

Daley objected.

“I don’t think we made it an anti-wind ordinance,” he said. “We made it a fair ordinance to protect citizens, their property rights, their property interests and their health as well as the interests of the wind industry.”

“No, you did make it impossible with the 4,000 feet (setback) from a property line,” the man said. “That makes it undo-able. And your attorney told you not to put it in there, to leave it at 2,000.”

Daley, Belskis and Mitchell were chastised for belonging to anti-wind groups and providing literature online about the negative aspects of wind power, but Whittemore repeatedly told the crowd not to include him in that sweep. He said he doesn’t belong to the groups and he’s not in Facebook anti-wind groups.

Voicing himself increasingly louder, Litwin accused the board of “throwing daggers at the wind industry” and being anti-wind and not supporting the will of all town residents, only themselves, who stood to be most affected by the project.


Logging business owner Aaron Jamison, who openly scoffed at Daley saying selectmen were not anti-wind, asked why they didn’t do what the Planning Board said.

“We’re trying to create a balance,” Daley said. “You can smirk and shake your head, but this last vote, it was split down the middle, so we’re trying to reach a balance. We’re protecting people who are opposed to it with stronger restrictions, but we’re trying to make it so the wind developer can build responsibly.”

“And the Planning Board wasn’t?” Jamison asked.

Planning Board member Richard A. Pickett, who is the police chief, tried to quell the unrest.

“Whether we like it or not, the people have spoken,” Pickett said. He wanted the Planning Board’s efforts and amendments put before voters.

Belskis said selectmen had other ideas, which is why they amended the Planning Board draft.

Daley said it had been his intention all along to create an ordinance that would be fair for the citizens and the wind industry.

“Which you had with the Planning Board ordinance,” Peter Holman said.