May 22, 2018
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Millinocket pursuing wind turbine regulations

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

MILLINOCKET, Maine — The town will begin crafting regulations addressing residential wind turbines within town lines, town officials said Sunday.

The Town Council agreed during a meeting Thursday to start the public hearing process that comes with adding or amending a town ordinance after members heard planning board chairman Anthony Filauro’s presentation on the board’s proposed guidelines, council chairman Scott Gonya said.

“Right now we didn’t change anything he gave us. We did not haggle over any of them,” Gonya said Sunday.

If the council approves the regulations, Millinocket will join a small but growing number of municipalities statewide that have adopted regulations controlling wind turbine development or have instituted moratoriums until such regulations can be adopted.

Under the proposed Millinocket regulations — formulated by Filauro and other board members — wind turbines would be allowed within most town zones but would not be allowed to exceed 50 kilowatts of generating capacity. Most of Maine’s industrial wind site turbines generate 1.5 megawatts.

Noise generated by a wind turbine system must not exceed 60 decibels, measured at the property line. No minimum lot sizes would be required, but turbine and tower must be set back 110 percent of its total height from property lines, public utility lines and other towers.

Signage would be prohibited on a wind turbine and tower except for safety and warning signs. Wind turbines would have to be erected with minimum removal of trees and be in compliance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

Owners of wind turbines that are inoperable for six consecutive months would have to repair them or have them removed at their own expense within six months of receiving notification.

Filauro said Sunday that the council might make changes during the hearings — usually at least two hearings are held in which the proposed ordinance is discussed. No dates have been set.

Councilors could opt to add a clause to the proposed regulations setting turbine noise limits at 50 decibels during nighttime hours to conform to a model set of guidelines the state issued in February, Filauro said.

“It’s in their hands,” he said.

Gonya said he is aware of one wind turbine within town lines.

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