CORRECTED

Eddington residents to vote on strict wind energy rules

Posted March 16, 2011, at 6:25 p.m.
Last modified March 18, 2011, at 1:37 a.m.

EDDINGTON, Maine — Planning board members have worked for more than 20 months on creating new wind energy rules for the town, and residents will vote on them at next Tuesday’s annual town meeting, Town Manager Russell Smith said Wednesday. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at Eddington Elementary School.

The 35-page draft ordinance would require a wind turbine setback of one mile from homes, businesses, schools and churches and would have strict noise restrictions, Smith said, noting that those two issues are of concern to residents.

Two public hearings on the proposed ordinance were held in January and in February and were well attended, Smith said.

“I think it will bring people out to the meeting” on Tuesday, he said of the ordinance. At the public hearings, “There were a few opposed to the ordinance, but most were in favor.”

The proposed one-mile setback would be very strict. The state requires setbacks of 1,500 feet between turbines and residences, so Eddington’s proposed setback is more than three times that.

The draft wind ordinance also would require wind turbines to operate with sound levels that do not exceed 40 dBA — a type of decibel measurement — at night and 50 during the day anywhere within a mile of the facility, provisions that would be strict based on what other communities have enacted.

Neighboring Clifton recently passed a wind ordinance that restricts sound levels to 45 dBA during the day and 55 at night in areas within 4,000 feet of the turbines.

The proposed Eddington ordinance, similar to one created for Dixmont last year, includes a mitigation waiver process that allows developers and landowners to work together on potential wind projects, Smith said.

The draft ordinance mitigation waivers must be written and filed with the planning board and recorded in the Penobscot County Register of Deeds, the draft ordinance says.

Residents at the annual town meeting also will vote on the 2011-12 budget. The preliminary municipal budget is $951,591, $20,458 more than this year’s. The draft budget includes:

  1. $23,400 for general government, a $1,390 increase.
  2. $274,058 for administrative salaries and expenses, a $3,301 increase.
  3. $196,500 for highways, unchanged from last year.
  4. $266,380 for protection, a $12,562 increase.
  5. $129,483 for human services, an $868 increase.
  6. $5,000 for unanticipated or emergency expenses.
  7. Moving $405,000 in revenue-sharing and homestead reimbursement funds to reduce the tax commitment, a decrease of $10,000.

The preliminary budget does not include the Penobscot County tax, which is projected to increase, Smith said, or the SAD 63 budget amount, which will be established later this year and will be part of the final municipal budget determined in June.

Local elections will be held on Monday. Three people — incumbent Chairwoman Joan Brooks and incumbent Donn Goodwin, as well as a newcomer, Michael Shepherd — are running for the two selectmen seats up for grabs.

SAD 63 member Pamela Dorr is not running for re-election to her three-year seat, and incumbent Karen Clark has moved to Holden, leaving a two-year school board vacancy.

Jeffrey Thurlow is running for the open three-year school board seat and Dustin Rath and Donald MacKenzie are running against each other for a vacant two-year seat.

Polls are open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, and the election results will be announced at the annual town meeting.

A copy of the proposed wind energy facility ordinance is posted under the planning board heading on the town’s website, eddingtonmaine.gov.

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the seat Dustin Rath is running for. Rath is running against Donald MacKenzie for Clark’s seat. Jeffrey Thurlow is running by himself for Dorr’s seat.

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