WILTON — More than 100 voters turned out for a special town meeting Tuesday night, Oct. 1, to decide on enacting a 180-day Elective Electrical Transmission Corridor Moratorium. The vote passed with nearly every hand in the room raised. Three voted in opposition of the moratorium.

Wilton Town Manager Rhonda Irish; selectpersons Keith Swett, Tiffany Maiuri, Tom Saviello, Phil Hilton, David Leavitt; and Town Clerk Diane Dunham at a special town meeting Tuesday, Oct. 1. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo

The vote defers any new elective electrical transmission project applications while the moratorium is in place.

The deferment will not affect projects already approved by the board, such as construction of a new Central Maine Power substation on Main Street. Currently, there are no town ordinances governing such projects.

“What this means is that we, as a community, will determine how elective power lines might come through this town,” said Selectperson Tom Saviello. “We can look at noise. We can look at visual impact. We can look at the impact on wildlife. It will be up to us during a public process to put that together with the planning board so that if someone does come in with an application, it will have to meet our requirements.”

The planning board would take on the responsibility of drafting the ordinance with public input, Saviello said.

“Any change they put into place has to go to the town meeting to vote on the final product,” he said.

The moratorium can be extended for additional 180-day periods with the support of voters.

Wilton voters overwhelmingly vote in favor of enacting an Elective Electrical Transmission Corridor Moratorium during a special town meeting Tuesday at G.D. Cushing School. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal

Saviello and Code Enforcement Officer Charlie Lavin have formed a committee with residents to address concerns about the effects of alternative power projects and Central Maine Power’s proposed New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line to bring hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts.

During a regular board meeting following the moratorium vote, selectpersons were in favor of calling another special town meeting to decide on enacting an Adult Use Marijuana Moratorium.

Lavin said the planning board had been inundated with requests for potential adult-use marijuana businesses. The board wanted to work on an ordinance to present at the 2020 Town Meeting, he said.

Voters approved adding a marijuana use table to the Zoning Ordinance at the June town meeting. The table regulates which zones are open to medical and adult-use marijuana businesses. It includes retail stores, manufacturing facilities, testing facilities and registered dispensaries.

“What we don’t have is licensing criteria, fee structures or limits on the number of establishments permitted,” he said.

Selectperson David Leavitt cautioned the board not to be overly restrictive. “Do we want to get into the business of regulating how many (marijuana) stores we are going to have? We don’t limit the number of convenience stores,” he said.

“There needs to be rules,” said resident Keith French. “If they want to grow it, fine. If they want to smoke it, fine. There needs to be rules and the state hasn’t done that yet.”

The board will review the warrant and set a date during its next meeting on Oct. 15.


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